As rich countries continue to emit greenhouse gasses at their highest-ever concentration levels, extreme weather is decimating more and more parts of the world.
Time is running out for millions of people who are already losing their lives, their homes and their livelihoods to climate change. These people have contributed least to the global climate emergency, yet they are being hit the hardest.
Here are stories from some of these people.
Bintu Abiso, Nigeria
Bintu carries one of her goats. Photo OCHA/Damilola Onafuwa
Bintu Abiso, a mother of eight, was displaced from Mafa in 2016 due to the ongoing violence in north-east Nigeria. She trekked to Gongulong for safety and has lived there ever since.
In September 2020, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) gave her four goats (one male and three females) and trained her how to care for them. Since then, her goats have multiplied to eight. But for Bintu, raising her livestock is not without challenges.
“Before, rain started early and lasted long. Now rainfall is short, it does not start early but it ends early. Before, we had a high crop yield and enough grass for animals to feed. Now the crop yield is less and there is sparse vegetation. It even affects the trees.”
“There is not enough food, not enough water, not enough animal feed and not enough firewood. It is hard to get water for my animals, the feeding is more expensive and the heat has caused some goats to have miscarriages. So, we also have to engage in small trade, buying and selling.”
FAO provides regular support to Bintu to help her maximize her yield and reduce casualties among her livestock.
Abdus Samad Sarker, Bangladesh
Abdus and his grandson stand on a raft made from banana trees in front of their submerged house in Char Bara Dhul, northern Bangladesh. The family sleep on a boat as they wait for the water to subside. Photo WFP/Sayed Asif Mahmud
When heavy monsoon rains flooded the northern districts of Bangladesh in the spring of 2020, Abdus Samad Sarkar and his wife, Monowara, were living in a small hut near the Brahmaputra, one of the world’s largest rivers. Their house was submerged in the flood waters.
During the monsoon season, rivers can burst their banks and inundate large swathes of low-lying country. Inside Abdus’s house the water level rose to waist height, destroying many of the family’s belongings.
Just before the floods, Abdus received a cash grant that helped him relocate his livestock to higher ground while he waited for the water to subside. Like most people in this part of Bangladesh, livestock is his main source of income.
The cash grant was funded through the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF*) and channelled through humanitarian partners like the World Food Programme (WFP). CERF uses the latest in data and predictive analytics to forecast crises and their likely impacts, and then takes action before they hit. This innovative approach enables families like Abdus’s to receive cash before the floods arrive, giving them time and resources to prepare for the flood’s impact on their homes, lives and livelihoods.
Marta Domingo, Mozambique
Portrait of Marta. Photo UNICEF/James Oatway
Marta Domingo, 26, gave birth in the Muada accommodation centre, outside Beira, two weeks before this photo was taken.
“I arrived in the camp on cyclone day. The whole house had collapsed. I fell when I was running, and I was seeing all the houses collapsing.”
Marta went into labour two weeks after arriving at the camp. She gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl, but the boy died the next day. Marta thinks he was injured when she fell while running to safety. She now devotes all her energy to keeping her remaining baby, Malina Seba, alive and healthy.
“My baby boy, he has no name; I still haven’t given him a name. I am recovering but sometimes I feel pain, I am sad. Malina is doing ok. Sometimes she doesn’t breastfeed. I don’t think she knows she lost her brother.”
For mores stories from humans in the climate crisis see the UN exhibit website.