Climate change will force more than 140 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America to become internal “climate migrants” within their countries’ boundaries by 2050, a new World Bank report said on Monday.

The report titled Groundswell Preparing for Internal Climate Migration warns that unless urgent development action is taken, people in these three “hot spots” could be pushed out by lower water availability, decreasing crop productivity, storm surges and rising sea levels. Nearly 86 million people are expected to be internally displaced in sub-Saharan Africa, about 40 million in South Asia, and around 17 million in Latin America.

However, the situation can be controlled and the displacement reduced by 80% if governments take action in time to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and engage in “robust development planning”, the report said.

“We have a small window now, before the effects of climate change deepen, to prepare the ground for this new reality,” said Kristalina Georgieva, the World Bank chief executive officer, according to the National Geographic. “Steps cities take to cope with the upward trend of arrivals from rural areas and to improve opportunities for education, training and jobs will pay long-term dividends.”


The report presented Ethiopia, Bangladesh and Mexico as its case studies. It warned that the fast-growing countries will have to create climate-resilient jobs to tackle population growth. Climate change is likely to immensely affect the poorest and most vulnerable regions, the report said.