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Voices from the climate frontline: Droughts, floods and rising sea levels are driving hunger, disease and displacement

Man walking through floodwater in Pakistan
Severe floods engulf Nowshera District during the 2022 floods. Photo: Shahzad Ahmad/UNDP
Press release30 November 2023

As COP28 begins, Concern Worldwide staff explain how climate change is affecting the vulnerable communities they work with and what they want to see from the climate conference.

Climate change has profound effects on vulnerable communities around the world, causing humanitarian disasters and worsening the problems of hunger, disease, and displacement in some of the world’s poorest countries.  

“In Bangladesh, climate change poses an existential threat for the 173 million population,” said Afsari Begum, Concern’s Flood Resilience Programme Manager in Bangladesh who will lead the ‘Disaster Response to Resilient Recovery’ session on 2 Dec at the Bangladesh Pavilion at COP28.  

“With sea levels rising, one-in-seven Bangladeshi people are expected to be forced from their homes by climate-related issues by 2050,” she said. 

Many of the countries severely impacted by climate change also face political and economic instability, which impacts their ability to respond to and recover from extreme weather events.  

In Sudan, where more than four million people have been displaced since conflict broke out in April 2023, torrential rains and flooding throughout the summer have destroyed hundreds of homes.  

“When a country is affected by conflict, the government is often not functioning optimally and as a result it cannot support people in times of flooding or drought,” said Beldine Atieno, Concern’s Regional Advocacy and Policy Officer for the Horn of Africa region.  

“Areas within the conflict zone that have been affected by climate disasters are difficult to access, communities’ capacity to cope has already been worn down and they have minimal support to recover,” she said.  

Concern is working with communities to help them adapt to the rapid changes in weather. This work includes setting up solar powered irrigation projects, raising houses and water points above flood levels, training people in new climate-smart farming techniques and distributing drought-resistant seeds.  

But much more investment is needed in this work to help communities gain resilience in the face of such rapid and large-scale change.  

“Concern is working to help farmers protect their land from heavy rain and drought, and helping urban communities to prepare for flooding, but Haiti needs security and investment in infrastructure that builds on local knowledge,” said Maranatha Dinat, Concern’s Technical Programme Coordinator in Haiti. 

Concern will be present at COP28 to amplify the voices of the communities worst affected by climate change, and demand that global leaders make progress on increasing levels of climate financing.  



Spokespeople are available to discuss the diverse impacts that climate change is having on vulnerable people, and how Concern is helping communities adapt. 

For media queries, contact Nicole Bayes-Fleming, Senior Communications Officer, Concern Worldwide (UK), at [email protected] 

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