Sunday, June 22, 2008

Canada braces for wave of newcomers

CNews on Canoe (Canada): Climate change is playing havoc with more than weather. Canada and other rich nations should soon expect waves of "climate change refugees" to appear on their shores as a result of being forced out of their homes by environmental disasters. "We can expect some immigration impact from climate change," warned Professor Peter Penz, of York University's Faculty of Environmental Studies. "All these people who were displaced in Myanmar are refugees somewhere."

Penz told a York University immigration conference that catastrophes such as May's cyclone Nargis that rocked Myanmar, killing 90,000 and leaving 56,000 missing, or 2004's Asian tsunami that killed 225,000 people in 11 countries, can displace refugees to countries worldwide. "These are climate change events and I don't expect flotillas of refugees arriving at our shores and making refugee claims," he told the immigration and refugee workers, adding areas closest to the disaster will receive the most claimants.

Penz was among 130 delegates from across the country at the four-day conference that wrapped up in Toronto Wednesday. Much of the work highlighted the plight of refugees and the celebration of World Refugee Day.

Belgian refugees in 1914, Wikimedia Commons

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