Central America: Climate Change Refugees
We are currently living in the midst of climate change. It is now that the effects of it are becoming clearer as they begin to transform the world into a new era. As more people inhabit this planet, the more we use its resources along with polluting it in the process. Uncontrollable wildfires, droughts, rising sea levels, and hurricanes will only continue to get worse from now on. The number of climate change disasters has tripled in the last 30 years. The U.N (United Nations) says we only have about a decade to get climate change under control. This currently affects not only the environment & animal species but as well as its inhabitants – us humans.
It has created climate refugees – migrants that have no other choice but to flee their homeland because of how climate change is currently destroying their way of living. An increased amount of Central American migrants are fleeing their homeland trying to find refuge in the United States. Hundreds of immigrants, (including children) per day are showing up at the border seeking asylum. This increase of migrants at the Southern US Border isn’t only because they are fleeing violence or poverty, there is now a new factor which is the climate crisis.
Unlike the United States, countries in Central America like Honduras,Guatemala and El Salvador face extreme poverty due to their government’s negligence with its people. Honduras officials & national legislators pocket money as well as the direct resources that are meant for their people.
A large percentage of Central America’s economy comes from agriculture, which makes one third of the country’s employment to be exact. Many people rely on farming as their way of income as well as to feed their families. With the climate getting warmer, the hot air boosted the spread of bark munching beetles which ravaged rainforests. Loss of forests also diminished freshwater streams. Droughts are on the rise thus causing crops to fail. Corn and bean crops have withered for a fifth straight year. 72% of corn and 75% of beans being lost due to these droughts. These plantations are job opportunities that have been lost throughout the years. There’s no food to eat or to sell. It is important to note that these countries are surrounded by bodies of water on both sides. Rainfall and hurricanes are also hitting these countries. For example, Honduras saw two month’s worth of rainfall in just one week. Not only have droughts contributed to migration but two hurricanes hit back to back killing hundreds, destroying land and forcing 7.3 million people in need of assistance. The pandemic has also gotten in the way of any aid, thus causing civilians to become desperate and flee their home countries as they were left with nothing.
With few options in their home countries – people decided to flee and make their way up to The United States. In mid January, 9000 of them joined to create a caravan that started in Honduras. Many people critique these migrants as they don’t understand why so many of them are fleeing their countries. So far, there have been 116 deaths of migrants recorded on the US Mexico border in 2021. Many of them die by drowning, others go missing.
The US government has always been sending billions of dollars in aid directly to governments of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Corruption within these governments has made it harder to confirm that this amount of money is even going towards its struggling civilians. Biden and his team of experts have found that foreign aid has not historically brought anything more than small improvements towards these poor countries. Sending aid drives more people to migrate as they believe that the U.S government cares more about them than their own government, this causing them to flee. The current Biden Administration plan is teaming up with local civil groups in these countries to have direct contact with its citizens. Kamala Harris met up with Guatemalan community based organizations in April 2021. On a recent visit, she famously told immigrants “to stay home”.
It is urgent that we become aware of global warming and its effects so that we join with others to save the planet and all of its inhabitants. We are living in a global state of emergency. Global warming is affecting the way of human life worldwide. And this is barely the beginning. A new factor has been added to migration that is the climate refugees.