Potential impact of ea level rise Nile Delta

Population: 3 BOO 000 Cropland (Km2): 1 800

Population: 6 100 000 Cropland (Km2): 4 500

Source: adapted from National Environmental Trust (2005); Simonett (2005) Figure 13.1 Potential impacts of 0.5m and 1m sea-level rise in the Nile Delta levels of demand. The creation of water and food shortages, and large numbers of displaced people and even greater unemployment due to loss of agricultural lands, industries and infrastructure from climate-induced precipitation declines and sea-level rise, will not only affect livelihoods, but also will increase competition for existing resources, which could lead to internal migration. Consequently, these factors will likely further erode public confidence in the Egyptian government, with potential for political unrest and for radical fundamentalism to grow. The Muslim Brotherhood are seen as the leading opposition and threatens the current regime's hold on power (Bensahel and Byman, 2004, pp58-59). A new regime may have a different attitude towards peace with its neighbours with drastic regional security ramifications.

Several US security experts have noted that in the developing world, even a relatively small climatic shift can trigger or exacerbate food shortages, water scarcity, destructive weather events, the spread of disease, human migration and natural resource competition. These crises are all the more dangerous because they are interwoven and self-perpetuating: water shortages can lead to food shortages, which can lead to conflict over remaining resources, which can drive human migration, which, in turn, can create new food shortages in new regions (Campbell et al, 2007, p56). In fact, the term 'climate refugees' was coined in recent years. The number of these climate refugees is estimated to reach or even exceed 200 million people by 2050 due to uninhabitable land, extreme weather events, desertification, sea-level rise and/or the salinization of agricultural lands. Along these lines, the question will arise as to whether such individuals or refugees will be allowed to enter other countries, and how these issues will be addressed (Grungras, 2007).

The projected damage in Egypt mentioned above could lead not only to internal migration but also to migration out of the country. People trying to cross political boundaries in the region could face problems and not be allowed to enter a neighbouring state. Cross-border political tensions due to the Darfur conflict and the related refugee issue already exist between Sudan and Egypt, as is the case between Israel and Egypt with thousands of Sudanese refugees now crossing from Egypt to Israel.

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