Child Survival in a Changing Climate
Project location: WORLDWIDE, Various Countries
Project start date: August 2010 - Project end date: August 2012
Project number: 2010-24
Beneficiary: Associazione Witness Image
The desertification of the Gobi in Mongolia Mongolia, although always used to extreme conditions, is in the grip of a devastating climate change. It rains less and less, rivers are drying out, and in the last few years we've been recording harsh winters followed by long periods of drought. The phenomenon of desertification due to temperature increase remarkably intensified the progressive expansion of the Gobi desert. Most of herds, representing the only good of the nomadic population, cannot be fed due to the lack of grasslands, and this caused the death of millions of livestock. Without animals, Mongolian are not able to eat, get dressed, warm up, build or move. Those who lost their cattle did not only lose their income and job, but also the possibility of survival of the family itself.
Thousands of Mongolian shepherds are therefore forced to move to the capital city Ulan-Bator. The suburbs turned into a tent area of wretches, fleeing from deserts and steppes, camped in precarious sanitary conditions, without any possibility of having drinking water or toilet facilities. These people forced to leave their homelands are known as environmental migrants: an emerging phenomenon that is set to evolve into a humanitarian crisis of planetary proportions within the next few decades.
According to a United Nations forecast, by 2050 humanity will face the traumatic challenge of dealing with as many as 200 million environmental migrants. This projection implies massive population shifts from rural areas to city slums.