Peru Climate Change: Impact on Indigenous Peoples

Impact on Indigenous Peoples

Climate change has, and is affecting rural populations’ access to water and their livelihoods. Farmers in Cusco are reporting irregular rains and intense heat and since agricultural output depends on rain farmers will have to adapt their traditional farming practices in areas where rainfall is uncertain. In some areas, the rains that used to begin in October now begin around mid-December, by the end of March the rains are over when it used to rain throughout most of April. Farmers are losing more than two and half months growing time.

If agriculture begins to fail, it is widely thought that population displacement will occur with rural people migrating into urban areas. Climate change and a resultant sea level rise is expected to affect South American coasts by 2050-80, causing flooding, erosion and further population displacement.

The effects of climate change have reached the poorest and most remote communities in the Andes who are highly susceptible to adverse weather conditions. Extreme winters are challenging highland communities' abilities to survive. They depend entirely on alpacas and potatoes for both their livelihood and staple diet and are struggling to survive through the increasingly harsh winters.

In Peru many diseases are weather and climate related, warm humid environments spread Malaria and Dengue and climate change could affect the frequency of outbreaks. This will invariably lead to increased strains on health services.

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