Terraces and tragedies

Summer reaches Northern Europe a bit earlier every year. Come March or April, we can already enjoy the occasional nice glass of white wine outside on the terrace, dressed in our summer apparel. Some people enjoy that side of climate change. Me, not so much today.

Today, Italy is being sued before the European Court of Human Rights. That is the good news. The bad news is the reason why. In November last year, 20 people lost their lives in the Mediterranean, including two children. Unfortunately, that number isn’t even shocking when you consider that during that whole year, over 5000 boat refugees drowned. What’s different about these twenty people, whose remaining family members are taking Italy to court, is that the drowning took place right under the eyes of the Italian airforce, the Libyan coast guard and an NGO ship from Sea Watch. Italy forced the Libyan coast guard to take the refugees on board, and to prevent Sea Watch from rescuing them. The Sea Watch crew tried with all their might to save as many people as possible (over 100), but even so, the results were disgraceful.

All this is part of the new European policy to prevent refugees from Africa from entering, send them back or keep them there as much as possible.

So how is the weather to blame for that? Sometimes we don’t realise how much more climate change affects people from poor countries. Droughts and desertification cause hunger and poverty. Landslides bury entire villages. Floods wipe out people, animals and crops.

If people then decide to risk their lives aboard a dinghy to go look for a better future, we should be receiving them with open arms. That way, enjoying the wonderful summer weather will be much easier.

 

This post is also available in: Dutch

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