The UN agency for migration IOM has released its first study on climate data in four countries around the Chad basin - Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria - to collect information with the objective of studying the connection between climate change, conflict, migration and livelihood.
In a statement, the organization said the results of the research carried out in August showed that across the four countries, regardless of the status of those interviewed (including members of the hosting community, internally displaced, repatriated people, migrants and refugees), everyone perceived a change in temperatures, rainfall and eco-systems.
Data on perceived temperature, rain and eco-systems
Across the region, 3,685 families and 475 key sources were interviewed in areas that were selected based on how close they were to the lake and how they were affected by climate change and war. 85% of those interviewed in Cameroon, 71% in Chad, 42% in Nigeria and 82% in Niger indicated an increase in temperatures over the last decade. Some of those interviewed also reported more irregular temperature changes that influenced traditional activities.
''This pilot project showed that we are able to trace interesting correlations that will help policy-makers and humanitarian and development organizations respond to the needs of populations, which are emerging or were previously unknown'', said Cecilia Mann, who is in charge of the project.
Conflict is a key factor causing migration
In Cameroon, 96% of those interviewed perceived a decrease in rainfall compared to 45% in Chad and 73% in Nigeria. In Niger, 77% noticed decreasing rain and 14% reported irregular rainfall over the last decade. Households in all four countries perceived a change in ecosystems mainly characterized by the disappearance of vegetal species and animals. Movements of the population were mainly attributed to cycles and migration due to conflict was cited as a key factor. In Cameroon, 53% of those interviewed said they were forced to flee their village (including over 50% due to factors connected to climate).
In Chad, 82% of those interviewed said they were forced to flee but only 1% made a direct correlation with climate change. In Nigeria, 92% of those interviewed stated that they were forced to flee their home but only 7% indicated reasons connected to climate change. In Niger, 54% of the people polled said they had fled their homes, including 3% who cited climate-related issues.