Fleeing climate change – the real environmental disaster | DW Documentary


[Music] the world has changed weather is getting more extreme [Music] [Music] [Music] today we are struggling when we’re talking us people on the move in the millions than we’re talking about people in the billions droughts floods hurricanes vast areas are being devastated by environmental catastrophe how many people will be forced to leave their homes by the mid-century not due to conflict in war but due to climate change we appear to be on the path to a troubling future [Music] [Music] [Music] from the Sahil region to Southeast Asia from the Pacific to the Caribbean some people are fleeing rising waters others droughts the world’s population began to soar about 200 years ago soon it will top 10 billion greenhouse gases are rising a pace the resulting warming of the Earth’s atmosphere is wreaking havoc on the climate humankind which is responsible for this warming is becoming its victim more and more people are forced to leave their homes inequality is being exacerbated by climate change wealthy industrialized nations are polluting our air while the main victims live in the global South for example in Indonesia Ponty bahagia which means happy beach lies on the indian ocean due to rising seas and heavy rainfall the village is sinking into the sea the flooding continues even now during dry season [Music] the local primary school is damned and smells of rot parents say conditions are intolerable and more than half the children have been taken out of school most jayati rahmatullah teaches in primary grades he attended this school himself and is determined to persevere his classroom flooded for the first time in 2013 conditions here are very very difficult for us we often have to send the children home when the classrooms flood the children sit with their legs in water regular instruction has become impossible the children are falling behind within the next five or six years rahmatullah believes the school will be submerged it will be abandoned along with the village what will it look like here three decades from now in the year 2050 but at that time there will be the most extreme conditions of the weather forward with our 17,000 Islands a lot of course and that will be eaten up by the sea so life will not be the same as here there’s a lot of illnesses there will be plagues and the economic growth of the hook on the whole world will be disturbed by horizontal strife one against the other because fighting for food water maybe arrows her death will be the very sad picture in 2050 for the Indonesian special envoy the catastrophic impact of unchecked climate change is the biggest challenge facing humankind today ten years ago the topic was barely on the radar Jakarta the capital of Indonesia with some 10 million residents it’s the largest city in Southeast Asia around 30 million people live in the metropolitan area making it the second largest urban conglomeration in the world the fish markets are located in North Jakarta the scent of the ocean lies in the air mixing with the odours of the city just a few kilometers from the city center the problems confronting this tropical metropolis become apparent residents struggle with smog heat heavy traffic pollution population density and poor hygienic conditions and with increasing frequency flooding the slum district of Dutta is located near the airport it’s 5,000 residents used to live near the sea but these days it almost looks like they live in it EKOS umano has lived in dot up since the 1970s he and his neighbors have watched the rising sea level with concern at least once a month the flooding reaches his knees sometimes the water remains two days sometimes a week it flooded here for the first time around the year 2000 first it was just a few centimetres since 2010 the flooding has been getting higher and higher but it’s never been as bad as it is now in Jakarta the district’s closest to the coast faced the biggest problems poor neighborhoods like Dada will be among the first to need complete relocation the slums most at-risk are situated along a wide corridor that snakes through the city says urban planner Marco kusuma vijaya only about the coastal areas the flood actually up streams in the city center of Jakarta Fabian dear from my office kusuma V Jaya is director of the rujak Center for urban studies which searches for solutions for climate related problems right now their focus is the depletion of groundwater from the area the declining water table has even more serious consequences than rising sea levels it’s causing the ground to sink and large parts of the city with it on the way of Jakarta the sea level rises at between 4 to 6 millimeters per year but was is that the land of Jakarta is subsiding by 3 to 20 centimeters in February 2013 nearly half of Jakarta was underwater scenes like this are likely to become increasingly common ocean levels continue to rise the land is collapsing and heavy rains are becoming more frequent about one third of Jakarta is currently below sea level environmental problems are causing a growing number of people to flee the city but most want to remain or have no other choice in an effort to protect the capital the government has begun building a seawall but only six of the planned 50 kilometers have been built and even their water is finding its way through it’s becoming clear that everything located directly on the water will one day fall victim to it like this mosque the bad thing is actually most of the poor neighborhoods will be flooded because the rich neighborhood have raised themselves you know but exactly because they erase their ground so the water that come to their ground will actually flow into the surrounding poor or neighborhood poor districts located along one of Jakarta’s 13 rivers often stay submerged for weeks when the floodwaters rise areas near the Chile one river are most at risk like this low-income district by the Chile one tributary Tonk all situated just four hundred meters from the ocean the drivers housekeepers fishermen construction workers in such that live here all face climate change related risks this estimated that 65% of our operation will be directly victimized weather which is a lot of people of his 65 percent of 300 million three hundred million is 170 million people will we are an island nation and around six thousand islands are inhabited because coastal areas will be destroyed Steff they came up with figures of 14 million four zero million because they are the coastal people and those are prone to the effects of landslides so about forty million people are directly involved and those involved may have to leave their homes [Music] Indonesia is prone to a variety of natural disasters from cyclones to mudslides flooding to droughts but there is one place that is at risk of all of these the island of Java and it’s here that one of the world’s most densely populated areas is located Jakarta the city’s infamous traffic jams lasts almost until midnight only to resume again at dawn more than 3.5 million people commute into the city every day just 100 kilometers southeast the bustle of Jakarta is a distant memory chan your district is situated at the foot of two inactive volcanoes it’s one of Java’s most fertile farming regions the rice vegetables and fruit grown here help feed the country’s capital the village of Saranga is accessible only by motorbike or on foot dudu Durrani runs a small coffee plantation here like his father and grandfather he is a farmer coffee used to be a safe crop choice it fetched a better price than vegetables and was harder than rice but that’s changing when I was younger all farmers would plant during rainy season so January February in March and then everyone would harvest during dry season but now my colleagues and I are desperate because it’s often dry in the rainy season and in the dry season it rains we are paying the price for climate change our harvests have dropped massively by about 60% nearly half of local farmers have given up they’ve moved to other parts of Indonesia or left the country altogether some have become construction workers in Saudi Arabia but doo doo de Roni doesn’t want to join them I can’t imagine doing anything else I will stay here as long as possible I’m a farmer that’s who I am I’m going to try to somehow adapt to climate change if it’s too dry when it’s time to plant for example I’ll just wait these mountainous regions don’t just supply food to the cities their forests also help store rainwater but extreme weather conditions are growing increasingly common here and still forests are falling victim to logging leaving rain water to flow unhindered into the valley sometimes the water sweeps away everything in its path [Applause] mudslides have had fatal consequences these images date from 2017 and 2018 [Music] [Music] special climate invoice Hockman viitala says that by mid century climate change will have forced 40 million people to flee their homes in Indonesia alone farmers who can no longer till their fields slum dwellers whose ten roofed huts have sunk into the sea [Music] [Music] most experts agree that it’s the world’s coldest regions that have become the cauldron for climate change these are the Arctic the Antarctic Alaska and much of the permafrost of Russia [Music] [Music] Nikita Z mph trained as a mathematician but his father Sarah’s lifelong commitment inspired Nikita to change course now like his father he has dedicated his life to preserving Russia’s permafrost he’s come to the Kalima River in northeastern Siberia an eight-hour flight from Moscow to gather evidence that the permafrost is vanishing the ground has warmed up to 3 degrees Celsius causing the top layer of the ice to melt one side effect is that more and more rare fossils are surfacing for paleontologists this would be a treasure trove a field of riches from the distant Pleistocene epoch mama swag not the biggest one but every size 20 so here was in the position the consistent here was huge and own Everest quake homes around one mammoth and labeled for 40,000 years and all never here on this quake home to now lay around 600 skeletons so every once in a while there all along the Kalima soil is eroding sliding into the river as a consequence of the melting permafrost Nikita Zima calls plants like these zombies because the soil in which they are growing was Behrend for forty thousand years this vegetation will also soon end up in the river the changes taking place here could soon be a reality across wide expanses of Russia and it could also have a dramatic impact on the global climate and mass migration of people’s 4 there is an immense amount of biomass still trapped within the permafrost [Music] if that trapped co2 and methane were to be released into the atmosphere the pace of climate change would increase dramatically so these are roots of grasses which grew here maybe around 40,000 years ago and the problem that is it huge storage of carbon and take all these little groups and put them on the one side of the burns and on the other side of the bones put all the background vegetation of the planet so basically all trees and shrubs of the planet you will see that this tiny little roots wait more and if Paris will start to degrade everywhere all this will become a way for microbes to eat and they were very soon converting to greenhouse gases co2 methane that’s ice pure ice out there and you see when this ice is melting the wood is mixed in with this soil and creating this mud folks which are children down the slope and the gradations have been very rapidly here so it’s a combination of both loads of carbon and lots of ice and that’s a give you a very rapid carbon bond so every problem that will be happening with the global warming worldwide with this thing will be probably amplified so if it will it will see if it’s going to be bad somewhere to turn very bad so if there is a way to stop that from happening like we need to apply that because if not you know you can write any apocalyptic scenarios you want and probably most of them will come true [Music] it’s breakfast time in Nikita zoomorphs guesthouse interest in permafrost has soared over the past decade so now the guest rooms here at the station are usually booked year-round with researchers from all over the world this is the group from Oxford University here to study the transformations currently underway in what used to be frozen earth during the Soviet era this enormous satellite used to broadcast television programming from Moscow the Z morphs turned the station into a home base for scientists from around the world [Music] yeah well most though the data that has been collected in Siberia and across Russia’s Far East are alarming normally the vegetation binds greenhouse gases in the summer and only releases very small amounts back into the atmosphere in winter which is but for the past few years the permafrost that’s thawing more and more in the summer is releasing ever-increasing amounts of methane and co2 during the winter at the moment the biosphere is acting as a well could be say as a friend as a moderate break on climate change so about 40% of the carbon dioxide we emit is being absorbed by the biosphere and that’s acting to slow down climate change if that wasn’t happening climate change would be even faster than it is but one of the big concerns we have as system scientists is understanding how long will the biosphere keep acting as a break and is there a danger that at some time in the future with this break we’ll turn into an accelerator scientists from all over are turning their attention to the permafrost and its potential impact on climate change this group of researchers from Prague is being hosted by the Institute of applied ecology of the North in the Republic of Sakha the researchers have just returned from a crater that is carved into the permafrost these soil samples are a gift to the Institute in return the researchers hope to obtain permission to exhibit some of their spectacular finds in a museum at home remains of a mammoth and the mummified remains of an extinct horse from the Pleistocene epoch the crater in which the fossilized remains were found was named the bottarga crater but locals call it the Gateway to the underworld it’s easy to see why [Music] in the 1960s a small section of forest was cleared to make way for a new road the permafrost originally beneath the trees began eroding at first the hole was just a few meters deep the stood on average the mega crater is between 40 and 60 metres deep and in some places it’s 100 meters deep it’s 1.5 kilometers long and about one kilometer wide right now but it’s hard to determine exactly how wide it is because it’s expanding so quickly these kinds of catastrophic events could become increasingly common and not just in residential areas but anywhere in the wilderness wherever there are pipelines and natural gas facilities our entire infrastructure could be impacted most of the cities in Siberia and in Russia’s Far East could be affected about 25 million people in all how big would the impact be if all the world’s permafrost were to melt so far there isn’t enough cross regional research to answer that but there are findings regarding the polar region from a global terrestrial network for permafrost in 1996 the permafrost melted to a depth of 45 centimeters in the summer by 2017 it melted to a depth of 87 centimeters a nearly 100 percent increase over just 20 years this poses a danger to both people and infrastructure natural gas and oil pipelines are particularly affected Greenpeace has estimated that leaks and pipelines cost by thawing soil are leading to about 1% of oil being lost that oil some 5 million tons of it each year seeps into the ground the residents of the Arctic city of cesky in the far northeast of Russia are bearing witness to this rapid transformation temperatures are rising inexorably asphalt on the streets is beginning to buckle and several buildings are showing signs that the solid ground on which they once stood has begun to sink the city of chair ski on the kolyma river is also home to Nikita Zi Moff even though temperatures drop here to minus 60 degrees Celsius in the winter the erosion of the permafrost soil appears unstoppable this is especially apparent at the former water treatment plant like all the buildings here it stands on pillars [Music] the earth began to sink here just two years ago now the crater is already 10 meters deep as soon as it starts it’s going very rough so when I was here a week ago there was some those two place with you in the air and now we came they already come up down and there is a huge niche going underneath the purpose of where this is this ice it’s been eroded and eventually all that slope you’ll collapse also so this process kind of grow in them with I know centimeters a day maybe tens of centimeters today within the hot Baker so we have serious building the firm fourth area and now with climate getting warmer temperatures also getting warmer and with degradation it looks like that so all the infrastructure in the next few decades will probably come up elsewhere the heat of the Sun is relentless this is Cameroon in central Africa here in the streambed of the my abullah River signs of despair are everywhere [Music] the north of Cameroon receives two months of rainfall a year at most in August and September during the rest of the year people must walk far to find water or dig deep older people who live here say that water used to flow abundantly through the Myo bula river into the Logan River and eventually discharging into Lake Chad but those days are gone [Music] Edwyn kappa works for the Caritas charity organization in the region his job is to ward off looming humanitarian catastrophes access to drinking water is an enormous problem for people and animals here in the far north of Cameroon [Applause] [Music] Kadapa often visits villages near the provincial capital of maroa today he’s in william home to many herders Kadapa has been a social worker for many years and knows the signs of an impending humanitarian catastrophe in the summer of 2018 the region was on the brink only women used to fetch water but now it’s so bad the entire family has to help now when young people want to build a house they have no water when we want to work there is no water a young man wants to be a farmer or work in sales and there’s no water it’s already begun young men are leaving they’re going to the big cities to joan day and Dwolla people are starting to leave we no longer know how we will be able to manage the drought is especially hard on people who must find water not just for their families but also for their livestock the guy gongfu believes he is about 60 years old and has always tended his herds now it’s so dry that he and his son John Paul are running out of options this animal feed was harvested the previous year by now it’s completely dried out and there isn’t much left if the next month doesn’t bring rain the Colville family fear the worst if their livestock die they will be left with nothing the spring is six kilometers away we have to fetch water twice a day just to have barely enough for our four cattle the goats and my family don’t quibble over the past 10-15 years the situation has grown much worse that’s why young people aren’t able to stay in their villages they’re forced to leave to go to the cities there’s no future for them here for such a shape as given away by that video every day [Music] young people are moving away because the lack of water is stealing their futures herders are having to leave for the cities because their livestock died of thirst traders grain farmers and hunters people from across northern Cameroon are leaving their homes they are climate refugees a sign of things to come but climate is hardly ever the only reason behind a decision to migrate poverty is often a factor fear of terror attacks can also play a role most of the people gathered here fled from the Islamist group Boko Haram in neighboring Nigeria they are now unintentionally contributing to the desperate situation facing local Cameroonians people stand in line for up to eight hours to receive a few kilos of food they wait quietly and patiently despite the brutal heat there are 200 sacks of millet and corn for 30 thousand people this help is urgently needed but it’s only a drop in the bucket [Applause] we’ve already seen several waves of migration people keep trying to make their way south to find farmland in areas where there’s more rain many people have left here heading south here in the mem a region the rains used to begin in April now the rains come in late May sometimes in early June in the past it rained until October but last year the rains ended in August that’s a disaster for us farmers in May so st. Granada Kapalua Pisa Domini in order to farm properly soil must remain moist for at least four months out of the year experts call this the 120 day line if rain lasts less than four months soil will grow arid grain cultivation becomes impossible and livestock die in the Sahil region this line between survival and disaster is moving ever further south toward the equator where there’s more rain from 1970 to 2016 up to 100 kilometre wide stretches of land that were once arable have become desert as a result hundreds of camps have arisen in the Sahil region filled with people who have lost their livelihoods temperatures reach 45 degrees Celsius in the shade and 60 degrees in the full Sun people here live at the edge of despair reliant on food deliveries from NGOs ISA and Golda and her family live in one of these camps they have enough food for now and access to a water pump but when they fled the drought they lost their independence their fields where they used to plant millet and onions grew arid ISA her husband and their five children are climate refugees see we’re suffering so much there’s no rain we have no water we don’t have enough water to grow anything yapple people here heading south hoping that they’ll be able to grow crops there and find something to eat in Southeast Asia flooding is driving people from their homes in Africa it’s the devastating drought Cameroon is suffering as is neighboring Chad Lake Chad which lent its name to the entire region is the only natural source of water in the area researchers from the International Organization for Migration have come to the region surrounding lake chad to investigate the connection between climate change and the rise of climate migration mushara murillo of the UN migration organization has spent years in the Sahil region every encounter and every conversation adds another layer of detail to his preliminary findings [Music] today Murillo and his team are visiting a camp for displaced people in their Lake Chad under the shadow of a nearly barren tree he speaks with Mohammad Ibrahim the head of the family Ibrahim tells Murillo he is a herder the family suffered a terrible ordeal before finally arriving at Lake Chad it was heat and lack of water that drove him from their home climate change has a huge impact on us herders if there’s no rain no plants grow and without green plants to eat our animals die so we herders are hit very hard by this from the chat the chat side Nigerian side the Cameroonian side and either side they all depended on this source you can realize that this lake is unique is just a freshwater with in an arid area so so many levels dependent on this lectured if the lake chad disappears it will be a serious environmental catastrophe because without the lectures we can hardly talk about a living atmosphere in the lake Chad region in 1963 lake chad covered an area of 25,000 square kilometres by 2007 it was just 2,500 square kilometres more than 90 percent smaller and the lake continues to shrink if the lake were to completely dry up more than 50 million people would probably become climate refugees and this figure does not take into account the rate of population growth lake chad remains a life source for millions of people but as it continues to shrink water is becoming an ever scarce ER and more valuable resource and so our arable land and the fish in the lake as Lake Chad gets smaller competition for these resources will become increasingly bitter even now fishermen in the region are competing for dwindling stocks of carp Nile perch and tilapia with climate change there is a key impact on the lake in that it it affect the distribution and the pattern of fish and is that in mind its effect the fishing industry as well so basically it’s it touches on three major level strategies of people around in this surrounding this area namely farmers hair does and fishermen the region surrounding Lake Chad is emblematic of the close connection between climate change and migration [Applause] in the past we had a lot of fish good fish we sold them here or over in Nigeria but now they have problems with terrorists and here we have no more fish in our lake from Lake Chad to Indonesia farmers can no longer rely on predictable seasons for planting and harvesting the climate has become a threat there are hurricanes cyclones drought flooding mudslides and wildfires and the melting permafrost could soon exacerbate all of those around the globe on the american continent people are fleeing droughts in northern Brazil in the Caribbean and the southern United States it’s hurricanes in Africa people are leaving the arid Sahil region some will likely head north to Europe in Spain Italy in Greece people will also flee the rising heat in Asia coastal regions are vanishing under rising oceans people are fleeing to higher ground in river deltas like Bangladesh the South Sea Islands will be completely submerged how many people will have become climate refugees by 2050 we know at the moment that approximately 20 million people are being displaced every year that’s numbers more or less true for the last decades so we can say that under climate change population growth possibly more vulnerable populations this number is going to grow if you look today we know that every year at least 25 million people flee so the fast forward 30 years so that’s why I think if you go to the figure 500 millions it’s not a very high estimate seizures are the names of the do this gee Monsieur if I had to estimate I’d say maybe a fifth or a quarter of the world’s population will be forced to migrate so that’s about two to three billion people [Music] you

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