Vatican shines spotlight on millions of victims of climate change

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Maria Madalena Issau is from Mozambique. She is 32 years old.

In 2014 she lost everything in a flood, and had to build a new life from scratch.  

In 2018 she lost her husband. And in 2019 a cyclone again left her with nothing. Now she takes care of her five children and two orphaned nephews. 

The government has moved Maria and other families to a safer place, but they still lack basic necessities. 

Victim of climate disaster
“We have no hospital, no electricity, and the not close. And there are only classes for some grade levels.”

Maria is a victim of a climate disaster which forced her out of her home and left her in poverty.

She is the face of climate change that the Vatican wants to show to the world. 

Vatican Migrants and Refugees Section
“The climate crisis has a human face. It’s already a reality for millions of people around the world.”

The Holy See has laid out a series of “Pastoral Orientations on climate displaced people.” The document is the result of four years of the Vatican’s consultation with dioceses and NGO’s.

Its aim is to make the Church and other institutions more sensitive to the issue of climate displaced people.

The Vatican calls to guarantee basic services and documentation to those who are displaced, and it invites Catholics to get involved in political initiatives in the field.

It also asks Catholic humanitarian organizations to work together in providing a coordinated response to the climate crisis.

Global Catholic Climate Movement
“Our climate displaced brothers and sisters run the risk of finding hands too full to hold them. Hands that work alone, as the document says, that are engaged in unilateral and uncoordinated initiatives that can compromise the speed and effectiveness of responses.”

In 2019, 1,900 environmental disasters were recorded, which resulted in 25 million people displaced due to the climate.

The data comes from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, a research arm of the Norwegian Refugee Council. One of the few institutions that provides concrete data on the impact of environmental disasters on society.

Javier Romero

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