East Africa: torrential rains increase the risk of famine East Africa: torrential rains increase the risk of famine

East Africa: torrential rains increase the risk of famine

East Africa: torrential rains increase the risk of famine

The torrential rains which have affected East Africa since October and caused more than 300 deaths have been up to twice as intense because of climate change caused by human activity, according to a scientific study published Thursday.

The bad weather that hit Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia between October and December "was some of the most intense on record in the region," according to World Weather Attribution (WWA), a global network of scientists that analyzes extreme weather events in real time.

For WWA researchers, “climate change contributed to the event, making heavy precipitation up to twice as intense.” According to them, "as long as the planet continues to warm, heavy rainfall like this will be more common in East Africa."

The WWA report pointed to the "urgent need to phase out fossil fuels and reduce emissions to zero."

The researchers note, however, that there are still “uncertainties” about the “exact contribution” of global warming.

The Horn of Africa is one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather events are increasingly frequent and intense.

The worst drought in four decades has hit the region after several disappointing rainy seasons that left millions in need and devastated crops and livestock.

According to the WWA study, the vulnerability of the population also plays a "major role": "Many communities were already reeling from a three-year drought caused by climate change, having caused the death of livestock, poor harvests and food insecurity.

According to a report released Thursday by the UN World Food Program (WFP), "devastating floods threaten to worsen food insecurity across East Africa as heavy rains hit a region that less than a year ago, was in the grip of drought.

For the WFP, the torrential rains, with precipitation 140% above average, "destroyed properties, infrastructure and crops", also killing livestock.

Torrential rains have displaced more than two million people in East Africa, almost half in Somalia alone. The rains left at least 57 dead in Ethiopia, more than a hundred dead in Somalia and at least 165 in Kenya.

At least 23 people also died from cholera in a region of eastern Ethiopia hit by major flooding.

El Niño, typically associated with rising temperatures, droughts in some parts of the world and heavy rains in others, is expected to last through April.
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