A Climate of Hunger
Climate change fuels conflicts about scarce resources; water, land, livestock, food. Every rise in temperature by one degree Celsius increases the likelihood of conflicts between individuals by 2 percent, between groups by 10 percent. According to the WFP, conflict is the single biggest driver of hunger in the world today. Out of the 700 million hungry people worldwide, 420 million live in conflict-ridden countries. Conflict and hunger force people to pack up and flee their homes. On the road, they face violence and discrimination, their fundamental rights neglected. In order to provide stability, food security and future perspectives in affected places, we must address root causes of conflicts and expand on climate change adaptation measures.
This small settlement near Palu on the Indonesian coast was hit by a tsunami in 2018. It was caused by a severe earthquake and left over 200,000 people in need of food, drinking water and medicine. Climate change also affects atmospheric pressure – which makes earthquakes more likely – while rising sea levels intensify the impact of tidal waves (Source: Nature 2009).
Child refugees in the Internally Displaced People Camp in Chad, Africa. Education often falls by the wayside when children are forced to flee wars and natural disasters: according to UNCHR, four out of five underage refugees had no secure access to education in 2018.
According to UN Habitat data, around 258 million people currently live outside their home country. The causes include existential threats posed by poverty, climate change and conflict, yet the fundamental human right to adequate accommodation remains unfulfilled in many of their destinations.
The situation in South Sudan illustrates the extent to which climate change can intensify and escalate centuries-old conflicts over access to increasingly limited resources such as land and pasture. An estimated four million people were displaced during the civil war of 2013–2020, and six million were at risk of starvation (Source: BMZ).
Women who live in poverty are more likely to suffer the effects of climate change and have fewer options to adapt. Despite international efforts to promote equality and women's rights, women remain 14 times more likely to die in an environmental disaster than men. (Source: UN Women).
Locust swarms are becoming increasingly common in the Sahel region: unusually heavy rains caused the swarms to grow to 250 times their average size in 2012 and, according to the FAO, threatened the food supplies of 50 million people in four countries.
A village near Shyamnagar, South Bangladesh: due to its low-lying geographical location, the land is repeatedly inundated by floods and heavy rain – a quarter of the land mass was flooded in 2021 alone. The regions and local communities are therefore working to develop more resilient methods of construction and agriculture, as well as techniques for shoring up the land (Source: BBC).
Christoph Pueschner (*1958) is a German photographer. His focus is on crisis reporting, politics and social issues. For his reports, Pueschner primarily travelled Eastern Europe and the Middle East. In 2004, he documented the dire situation of Sudanese refugees in Tchad, in 2011, the extreme drought in Somalia and in 2018 the catastrophic flooding in Indonesia. His photographs appeared in newsmagazines such as Stern, Spiegel and Focus. Since 1999, Pueschner is member of the coverage agency 'Zeitenspiegel'.
Frank Schultze (*1959) is a German photographer. He documented a climate refugee camp in Bangladesh in 2011 for the humanitarian aid organization 'Brot für die Welt'. Schultze primarily reports from precarious regions and developing countries. His work appeared international magazines and news journals such as Stern, Cicero, Spiegel, GEO and The Times. Schultze is a member of the coverage agency 'Zeitenspiegel' since 2000.