Of 186 countries assessed, Chad was recently named the most vulnerable to climate change. Chad was followed by Bangladesh, Niger and Haiti. On the opposite side of the spectrum was Norway, Ireland, Iceland, and Sweden. But what makes Chad the most vulnerable? It is mostly due to its high poverty rate, civil unrest and geographic location.
According to the Multidimensional Poverty Index, 87% of Chadians are living in poverty. That is the fourth highest rate in the world. With high unemployment rates and limited resources, people turn to violence. Chad also hosts 300,000 refugee from Darfur. Resources sometimes need to be split among the refugees and general population which causes tension and resentment between the refugees and Chadians. All of this civil unrest in the country leads to people being unable to receive the help needed during climate-related disasters such as floods and droughts.
Many Chadians farm or rear livestock for a living. Unfortunately, temperatures in the country have been rising and the rainfall has been decreasing. Ninety percent of the country’s largest lake has disappeared over the last 5o years. The increased temperatures lead to bad crops and bad pastures. Leaving many Chadians helpless.
Rural areas are at a higher risk than the urban areas as that is where most Chadians live. However, urban areas are also in trouble. Due to an influx of people leaving the devastated farmlands into the cities, the country is struggling with sanitation services such as sewage drainage and waste collection. Poor sanitation can lead to an increase in diseases.
However, some citizens are finding ways to battle the effects of climate change. Farmers in the Sahelian region use an indigenous farming technique called Zai to grow crops. Zai consists of one digging a small pit and sowing crops in them. Water can remain in the pits for long periods and therefore, the crops aren’t reliant on rainfall. Agroforestry (combining of crops and trees in the same patch of land) is also becoming a popular option for farmers.
Overall, many poor or conflict-prone country will be vulnerable. If a country does not have the money or resources to combat the effects of climate change, there is only so much that can be done.