JRS Global: For Many, Climate Change is Already Here

20 May 2022

It’s easy to take our planet for granted until we see the human cost of its degradation: hunger, displacement, unemployment, illness and deaths.
Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International 

By the end of this decade, 700 million people – nearly half of Africa’s population – will be forced from their homes due to climate-related water shortages.  

Throughout Africa, many countries are already facing crises caused or worsened by unpredictable rainfall, including the African countries where Jesuit Refugee Service works. For example: 

  • Angola is facing its most severe drought in 40 years, which has caused 1.3 million people – so far – to experience severe hunger. Throughout 2022, an estimated 114,000 children will suffer from acute malnutrition.  
  • Droughts, floods, and food loss in Ethiopia have escalated economic tension, leading to armed conflict and violence – increasing increased families’ needs while decreasing the resources available to meet them. 
  • Increased flooding in South Sudan now affects nearly one million people per year – and that number is expected to rise each year as flooding worsens. 
  • Uganda’s formerly consistent rain patterns have been upended as a result of climate change, so that growing seasons are now unpredictable. The resulting loss of food, land, and damage to homes and schools have forced families to relocate in attempt to find a better place to make a living. 
  • Tanzania has seen an increase of drought severity and frequency – punctuated by ravaging floods that lead to crop loss, malaria, and cholera. 
  • In South Africa, extreme weather events have shifted agricultural seasons, such as fruit harvests and the annual sardine run. 
  • Thousands of people have fled their homes to protect their lives in Cameroon, where dwindling water supplies have caused fighting between farmers and herders. 
  • Climate change in Nigeria has resulted in unpredictable rainfall patterns, low crop yields, food shortages, an increased number of malaria cases, and damage to infrastructure such as roads and hydroelectric generators. 

Pope Francis has pronounced that “cry of the earth and the cry of the poor are becoming increasingly serious and alarming.”   

Indeed, every single country where JRS operates has already experienced climate change in ways that cannot be undone. However, there is still plenty that we can do together to minimize future impacts and help climate refugees now. Your support of JRS/USA will assist these families as they rebuild their lives.