Rebuilding After El Nino
By admin April 18, 2017

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Southern Africa’s ecosystems and natural resources are at risk with temperatures rising, scarce water supplies, and severe droughts. The effects of El-Nino, that ended early 2016, still have not been dealt with and have continued to leave the region with continuous problems. The natural disaster was ranked as one of the top three since 1950. Recently, the United Nations has warned that 14 million people are at risk of starvation, as well as reduced crop and livestock production. Sadly, experts have given word that many parts of the African country will soon become uninhabitable as a result of climate change.

Specifically, in Sudan, temperatures are set to rise drastically by 2060 from 1.1 degrees Celsius to 3.1 degrees Celsius. With higher, uncontrollable temperatures comes inconsistent rainfall which is unsuitable for agriculture and production. Already the country of Sudan is experiencing droughts and floods which has created an unstable production system and ruined crops. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), more than 600,000 people are displaced due to flood-related disasters since 2013. Approximately 70 percent of the rural population relies on rain-fed agriculture, while 80 percent rely on rainfall for their water supply.

Food security, thus, worsens due to these climate change issues. IDMC’s Yonetani, a senior advisor on disasters, said this crisis wasn’t a humanitarian crisis, “it’s a crisis of development.” Malawi is “one of seven southern African countries on the brink of starvation,” says the UN. Madagascar is said to be the most critical where hunger levels stand at phase four of a five-point scale, by which five is famine. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there is estimated 1.9 million people that could potentially be affected by reduced agricultural and livestock production due to the weather complications after El Nino.

Health is also another main focus in the Southern African region. Climate change could also have effects on the acceleration of the spread of malaria, yellow fever, and cholera. More research is to be developed in the linkage between rising temperatures, lack of water, and the spread of these diseases. Chief health assistant leading an assessment of rural areas near Nsanje in Malawi, Ane Banda, said, “it looks like 10% of children here are now malnourished.” Many live off of wild fruit, water lilies, and food handouts in their villages.

Overall, climate change funding is greatly needed, not only in these regions of Africa, but across the globe. According to scientist, Jos Lelieveld, unless the world is prepared to take on refugees as a result of the food crisis and uninhabitable areas, “we will have to help Africa to invest and protect itself.” Money from donors is not adding up. The World Food Programme appealed for $600 million by which only half is funded. According to the UN, “China has delivered 5,500 tonnes of rice to Zimbabwe, but the country has received only 40 percent of the USD $350m requested to feed 5.5 million people.” Governments need to secure their commitment in acting to counteract climate change.

Read More:

Food security crisis in southern Africa after drought

Climate change could render Sudan ‘uninhabitable’

Southern Africa cries for help as El Nino and climate change savage maize harvest

Southern Africa and the curse of man-made climate change

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