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Why the climate crisis is a humanitarian emergency

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Yemen, 6 May 2017: IDPs collect water during a brewing sandstorm. Water is heavily rationed and only available during one-hour windows, which normally take place just three times a day. © UNOCHA/Giles Clarke

Without drastic efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the humanitarian impacts of climate change will be far worse in the decades to come.

Climate change is not a distant vision of a troubled future. It is a reality of today.

Human-induced global warming has spurred a near doubling of natural disastersin the past 20 years. At least 7,348 major disasters occurred between 2000 and 2019, claiming 1.23 million lives and affecting 4.2 billion people worldwide.

In 2019, 34 million people globally were acutely food insecure due to climate extremes; weather-related hazards triggered some 24.9 million displacements in 140 countries.

The unfolding climate emergency is adding an additional layer of stress to humanitarian organizations that are already stretched thinner than ever before.

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