Climate change will force tens of millions of East Africans to abandon their homes within the next three decades, even if schemes to reduce its impact on the region are rolled out, the World Bank said on Wednesday.
People affected will include drought-stricken farmers seeking new arable land or different work in urban areas, and others driven out by the need to find clean water, the Bank said in a report issued four days before the UN COP26 climate summit begins in Glasgow.
East Africa's five nations - Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi - have increasingly experienced extreme weather events in recent years.
Apart from a worsening drought in a region heavily reliant on agriculture, there was extensive flooding in 2020, while a locust infestation of historic proportions that began in 2019 continues to wreak havoc.
"Without broad, urgent action... as many as 38.5 million people could be internally displaced as a consequence of climate change by 2050," said Hafez Ghanem, World Bank vice president for the region.