Countries most affected by climate change

Which countries are most threatened by and vulnerable to climate change?

Nature Society

During COP27, efforts have been made to define which countries are most vulnerable to climate change. Chad, Somalia and Syria are the most potentially at risk from the consequences of this environmental problem.

Climate risk reflects countries' vulnerability to the direct consequences of extreme weather events

In recent weeks of 2019, we have seen a country like Australia burning and losing 8.4 million hectares, more than 1,300 homes, 27 human lives and, according to University of Sydney estimates, about 1 billion animals in only four months due to some of the worst fires in its history. What is to blame for this? The extreme drought and intense heat caused by climate change in this region.

Difficulties in measuring by country

In recent years, attempts have been made to compute how climate change affects differente countries. However, the problem is related to which countries are considered vulnerable, a debate that took place during COP27. The vulnerability criteria provoked controversy between one side, consisting of China and emerging countries, and the other, consisting of the European Union. The problem stemmed from what was considered vulnerable to the effects of climate change and therefore who who should receive support from the international community.   

Because of this debate, it is necessary to investigate which countries are most likely to be affected in the event of a climate disaster, with no chance of recovery. Cases such as the United States or Australia, where phenomena usually cause adverse effects, but because they are countries that have the capacity to respond, are ruled out by studies related to vulnerability. These are the 10 most affected countries today:

1. Chad

 It is considered the most vulnerable country on the planet according to the University of Notre Dame's country vulnerability studies,Link externo, abra em uma nova aba.  due to flooding, increased military confrontation and famine affecting the whole country. 

2. Somalia

 Due to drought and political problems in the country, IRC (International Rescue Committee) expects that more than eight million Somalis could suffer from famine during the year. 

3. Syria

 After a decade of war, drought and an earthquake in February 2023 have caused the Middle Eastern country to be considered as one of the countries with the greatest problems in dealing with climate-related shocks. 

4. Democratic Republic of Congo

 With more than 100 armed groups vying for control of the country, multiple disesases such as malaria and Ebola have affected large parts of the country. Famine has increased even further with increased flooding in recent months. 

5. Afghanistan

 Since the return to power of the Taliban regime, international aid has disappeared in a context where the country has been suffering from drought for three years while the rest of Afghanistan has been suffering from flooding. 

The 10 countries most threatened by climate change in the 21st century.

 SEE INFOGRAPHIC: The 10 countries most threatened by climate change in the 21st century. [PDF]

6. South Sudan

 One of the world's youngest countries, created in 2018, suffers sever complications due to sever flooding at the end of 2022, affecting more than 900,000 people. 

7. Central African Republic

 The political crisis has led to serious health problems, with diseases such as meningitis and malaria affecting the population. But the biggest concern comes in relation to drinking water, as diseases such as cholera have been found in its reservoirs. 

8. Nigeria

 In 2022, 2.5 million people were affected by floods, which destroyed much of the crops in their path. Due to this and political problems, 25 million people are expected to suffer from famine in one of Africa's most populous countries. 

9. Ethiopia

 Drought is currently affecting 24 million Ethiopians in what is the sixth year without a rainy season.

10. Bangladesh

 The Asian country has experienced more than 185 adverse weather events over the past 20 years. Seventy-five percent of the country is technically submerged and, therefore, any rise in sea level severely affects the habitability of Bangladesh.