Asia Pacific

The World’s First Climate Refugees

Climate change

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January 15, 2016 16:32 EDT

A photographer documents the plight of people forced to flee island nations affected by climate change.

Some 60 million refugees in the world today are fleeing war, persecution and famine. But a new type of escapee is on the rise—one forced from his or her home by the changing forces of nature.

Photographer Vlad Sokhin has been documenting the frontline fight with climate change in his project, Warm Waters. So far, he has focused on the Pacific island nations of Oceania, where extreme weather is driving people from their ancestral lands.

Currently, some 3 million people are affected, and one of the world’s smallest nations—the nine-island atoll of Tuvalu—has already seen a fifth of its population of 11,000 seek refuge on larger islands.

While these people may be the world’s first wave of climate refugees, the current state of affairs suggests they won’t be the last.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

Photo Credit: Sangoiri /

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