Academic Publication

A climate in crisis: How climate change is making drought and humanitarian disaster worse in East Africa

Author:
Tracy Carty
Source:
Oxfam Media Briefing
Contributor:
Publication Year:
2017
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

This study is about the growing scientific analysis suggesting that the impacts of current and recent droughts in East Africa are likely to have been aggravated by climate change.

A climate in crisis

How climate change is making drought and humanitarian disaster worse in East Africa

Nearly thirteen million people in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are dangerously hungry and in need of humanitarian assistance. The worst drought-affected areas in Somalia are on the brink of famine.1 The crisis could deteriorate significantly over the coming weeks, as rainfall in March and early April was very low in places and poor rainfall is forecast for April through June, which is the end of the rainy season.

There is growing scientific analysis suggesting that the impacts of current and recent droughts in East Africa are likely to have been aggravated by climate change.2 Climate change is not a distant, future threat: it is helping fuel this emerging catastrophe in which poverty, chronic malnutrition, weak governance, conflict, drought and climate change have combined to create a perfect storm. While some still deny the severity of climate change and question the need to combat it, others are struggling for their lives as climate change makes a bad situation worse.

There could be no stronger call to take action on climate change than suffering on this scale. Governments across the region and around the world need to step up, take responsibility, and provide humanitarian assistance to save lives now. Short-term humanitarian aid needs to be coupled with support to promote the resilience of pastoralists and smallholder food producers. Without global efforts to reduce emissions and to help the world’s poorest people cope with the effects of climate change, this crisis will continue to repeat itself.

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