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Climate change is putting the lives of Nepali workers, who are building the World Cup stadiums in Qatar, at risk according to reporting by TIME.
As hurricanes, droughts, floods and other climate-change-induced disasters continue to uproot communities, the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration predicts that as many as a billion people will be displaced by climate change over the next three decades.
Since many of them rely on farming to provide for their families, they are heading to Qatar and the Gulf countries to avoid their villages’ unpredictable weather patterns and earn money to send back home.
“Climate change is encouraging people to go to the Gulf for work,” Surya Narayan Sah, a social worker from Nagrain, told TIME. “Here we depend on the rain to farm, and when it is irregular, there is no food, so they have to buy it, and the only way to earn cash is to go abroad.”
This has forced more than half a million Nepali migrant laborers to travel to Qatar over the last decade — mainly to help build the stadiums, hotels and other venues that will host fans and players for the upcoming men’s World Cup, which begins November 20.
These laborers are often vulnerable to exploitation and danger, as organized labor unions are illegal in the Gulf, making it nearly impossible to advocate for better working conditions.
Although Qatar has strict heat protections in place, temperatures are still rising twice as fast in the desert than they are on the rest of the planet — and it’s only expected to get warmer by 9 degrees F (5 degrees C) by the end of the century, according to a June 2022 study.
There are many other things that need to be done to keep outdoor laborers safe during the stadium’s construction. Individual monitors, for example, which can track a worker’s heart rate, hydration levels and body temperatures, are being worked on to prevent heat stress.
But, these technologies are still expensive and working conditions need much more reform before they’re implemented.
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