Rehet Bains
Research Intern, Jindal Centre for Global South.
O.P. Jindal Gobal University, Sonipat, Haryana.
Email ID:

Every country continues to feel the strong impact of climate change, but some countries are targets of the worsening climate more than others. Climate change has been a rising issue since before the start of the 21st century, and it happens to affect the Global South much more than the Global north. This article focuses on the negative impacts of factors of climate change, leading to the migration as well as displacement of the local people of the seven sisters towards other states of India.

The global north is a bigger contributor of synthetic greenhouse gases (GHG) due to a prominent level of advancement in the industrialized sector of these countries and is estimated to contribute 92% to the world’s GHG emissions (Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data, 2022). Even when they act as a catalyst for the same, the global south countries must experience the brunt of the impact of global warming and climate change. This being an issue that every county in the world faces, the burden is more to carry for the global south nations as it seems more catastrophic and has a more noticeable impact on the local communities of the same. All this because of the resources to keep up with sustainability for controlling and reducing climate change like those of Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean Islands, and the Asian countries are limited to a certain amount. Being entailed to go the same may hinder the industrial and economic growth of the global south countries. (Bandera, 2022)


India is one of these countries which helps carries the burden of achieving environmental sustainability to constrain global warming and, in turn, climate change. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) published reports on the same stating that this issue, in the coming years, may worsen by some percentage. Temperatures may rise by 1.5ºC more than the preindustrial temperatures in the next two decades and pose a bigger problem for developing nations and countries with tropical density (IPCC-Global Warming of 1.5, 2018). This brings us to how these rapidly changing atmospheric conditions have an impact on the tropical regions of India.


As shown, the northeast local people seek refuge in other states of the country due to displacement or migrations for reasons like droughts, floods or crop failures. These grounds on which the northeast locals move to other regions have one root cause – Climate Change. The effect of climate change is a vast that only a few aspects of human life are untouched by its influence. The deficit in rains and depleting groundwater table, the rise in temperatures leading to droughts and the failure of local crops grown in the areas resulting in loss of trade opportunities and many other factors that have instigated interstate migration (Khanum, 2021). All these factors can be running in parallel with the game of dominos and show us that all of them are somehow interconnected; if one falls, the others follow.

The northeast region of India is especially prone to the effects of climate change due to its socio-economic instabilities and jeopardized territorial geography including cross-border river basins acting as add-on factors. This region has seen a decrease in rainfall coming in compared to earlier recorded data of the same. During the South-West monsoon season i.e., during July–September, the region usually experiences an average rainfall of 2000 mm (about 6.56 ft) per variation brought in due to local topography (1500-12,000 mm). According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), as of August 2022, the northeast states have seen a 44% of the deficit in rainfall in July and recorded 234.6 mm (about 9.24 in) of rain for the same. This area received a lot less rainfall even when the whole country experienced more than average rain during the same period. The rainwater crisis has been prevalent in these states for the last 30 years now. Though it has abundant groundwater and the potential of contributing to 34% of the country’s total water resource, only 5% of that can be accessed and used. This is due to the bounty of crystalized granites, granulite and gneiss clogging the rainwater filtrations for the replenishment of groundwater. Drying up water wells, vanishing springs and rivers running dry all add up and thus influence the fate of crop yield of each season.

 In 2009, Manipur experienced a severe drought while 46% of the whole country was facing a moderately-severe rains. This depicted a trend in observation that showed having a deficit in rains at first and then heavy floods tarnishing the region. In 2019 Manipur experienced another rain deficit of 56%. (Climate crisis in Northeast India: How geography, rainfall variations define calamity course, 2021)


Every Northeastern state mark a trend that begins with a deficit in rainfall, which is followed by heavy floods that can tarnish the region. This has been a common trend in the Northeast since the last 30 years, according to the Northeast Climate record of the Indian Meteorological Department, which later leads to loss of livelihood, loss of homes and other infrastructure. Sikkim and Assam are the two states which seem the most prone to floods due to the increase in the water levels of the Brahmaputra River. According to UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), an annual average of 21.5 million people (about the population of New York) has been forcibly displaced by weather-related events like floods, storms, wildfires and extreme temperatures, since 2008. There could also be a possibility of a total of 1.2 billion people being displaced by 2050 (Zurich, 2023). These locals migrate from rural areas to urban areas of the metropolis societies in search of better livelihood opportunities and are usually offered labor work there. Most of the labor population working independently or for urban construction companies are migrant laborers. The rainfall deficit leads to a decrease in agricultural produce and conflict may arise. Another aspect indirectly influenced by climate change, leading to displacement and migration to escape the same. Extreme poverty rates, restricted growth opportunities, improper health facilities and inefficient governmental policies are other plus factor to the environmental degradation of the states, act as determinants for migration to urban communities for the natives. Though the act itself leads to an increased burden on the human resources of urban communities and may eventually lead to a global crisis in the future if this pattern is not broken.

The local women are the ones worst affected by climate change and are forced to work as domestic workers or fall victim to illegal migration for sex trafficking. The economic vulnerability after crop failure pushes them into getting exploited and prone to sexual abuse. The young girls get lured by promises of jobs in cities but get sold into the trafficking system instead. (Khanum, 2021)

The climate change protocols set by the governments of the northeast are a part of the border sustainable development concept that induces the idea of environmental protection and management of resources. To slow down the mentioned factors of climate change and minimize its impact like India’s Northeast Climate Change Program it is a global initiative that aims at strengthening the adaptability of the natives of the region and decrease their rate of vulnerability towards climate change.

All the consequences of climate change are severe and have many aspects and factors influenced directly as well as indirectly. Educating the local population of the same country may lead to an increased level of adaptation and sustainable involvement of the locals and hence reduce climate change induced displacement and migration, thus helping in protecting their own integrity and native culture.


Bandera, G. (n.d.). How climate colonialism and climate apartheid affect the Global South. Retrieved from

Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data. (2022, February 25). Retrieved from

Global Warming of 1.5 ÂoC â. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Fourth Assessment Report â. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Khanum, F. (2021, September 3). The Northeast India in the Midst of Climate Change               Retrieved from

Climate crisis in North East India: How geography, rainfall variations define calamity course. (n.d.). Retrieved from

‌ (2023, January 13). Retrieved from,and%20extreme%20temperatures%20%E2%80%93%20since%202008.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author (s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Jindal Centre for the Global South or its members.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: