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Climate Change Africa Focus
Most of us in western societies woke up this morning, took a shower, turn on the tap and filled the kettle to make a cup of coffee or tea, without giving a thought to the relatively easy stream of running water which flowed from within. To us this is a run of the mill common thing, which becomes a way of life, nothing about where it came from, or how it got to us. We never gave a second thought about this precious commodity that we all so easily take for granted. Yet spare a thought for the millions around the world who haven’t got such luxuries, in fact millions in Africa travel daily for miles to get muddy water from a well dug deep in the ground in order to prevent hunger and starvation.
Visions of the deepening drought crisis in east Africa, and especially Kenya where millions of cattle lay dead, humans are dying and starvation threats to millions splashed across our television screens. The reports highlighted the tragedy befalling nomadic tribes who are on the brink of starvation in the affected regions. What makes this even more alarming for those of us with a conscience is the raging war which is taking many more lives, the reports stated this scenario is not uncommon and threatened to escalate. We rotting carcasses of dead animals littering the plains, many people lost, or are loosing their livelihood, many travelling hundreds of miles across arid plains to find food and water or to find a camp or sit by the side of roads to garner support. To these folks the lost of an animal is just another death, for many it’s their last to die of many, and now they have nothing, no animals, no family, no home, nowhere to go for help, families begging for food and water is a pitiful site. A stinging indictment on a world lavished in luxury living side by side to another steep in poverty and starvation seeing deprecation poured on them for their status. Africa suffers because of well developed and developing nation’s greed, and globalization, which recklessly plundered the world resources without giving a thought for the consequences of their actions. Now the threat is to all of humanity’s existence, whether North or South America, Europe, and Asia, not just to Africa or Africans.
The drought is Africa is as a result of close to two years of devastating drought, seen as one of the worst droughts in living memory with the lack of rainfall taking its deadly tool on many neighbouring nations population, heaping social, economic and health problems on already impoverish economies. Kenya’s last severe drought was in 2005, but this continuing drought will put an end to the nomadic tribes way of life, dislocating many, and bringing many to the verge of starvation. Violent clashes between tribe’s men over land and dwindling resources are becoming far too frequent, said one aid worker. The scramble to get first inline when emergency water supplies are delivered to affected regions is hurting many more people. The impact of climate change to our world is far too real and while many are dying needlessly on the African continent, world leaders dither about minor matters of how far to go to affect changes. While they stutter and dither well meaning groups are launching campaigns to provide a lifeline to those people most affected by the drought. It does not take a brain surgeon to see the far reaching impact of climate change, which is seen by many scientists to be gathering momentum.
All the more reason for the upcoming UN summit on climate change slated for December in Copenhagen to have bite, making concrete decisions, taking resolute steps to save lives and the planet we all share and loved. These inter-governmental, inter-state international actions will need to be extensive taking into considerations the level of damage already done, and which will radicalised the way we use the world resources. The resolute steps will not just prevent poverty and stop starvation, but it will save many of our threatened rain forests, and also restore some form of credibility to world leader’s tattered image. Campaigns have seen many otherwise unconcerned, uncaring groups, coming onboard having seen the speed of the melting of snow caps in the arctic and the very weird weather pattern affecting different corners of the globe.
The UN’s World Food Program (WFP), among many other non-governmental and charity organizations have taken steps to deliver much needed supplies, but despite basic food supplies landing there it is seen by observers as a mere trickle, as many families only managing one uncooked meal once per day. That the population of these nations is tinkering on the verge of starvation is clear for all to see. A recent UN report stated that and estimated19 million people in Kenya and surrounding regions – Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti, need immediate water and food assistance. The people of the regions have seen changes in the weather patterns over time but not as drastically or dramatically as they have seen it over the past decade. Weather experts and forecasters say droughts are getting far more severe and frequent, observing that it is becoming more impossible for the nomadic lifestyle. A recent report highlighted a problem of people sharing contaminated tarpaulins of water with dying livestock, contamination is then passed on to people causing further illness. Some families are faced with the dilemma of whether to feed children or animals with the limited resources they have. Climate change has dished out a miserable existence for these families, and as the struggle for live goes on, many are still in a state of denial. Scientist has been warning of this pending disaster year on year, but without concerted government actions it will remain a talking shop. The Chinese and Russians have indicated their wiliness to take drastic actions, citing the inclusions of India and the emerging economy of Brazil. Yet more voices are needed, to shout louder, until world leaders make the changes to avert further disaster. European governments have been taking the lead, with a previously reluctant America, and now Barak Obama has finally engaged the American people with the need to take action we hope the December Copenhagen summit will be more than a talking shop. The world awaits, to see results that will afford the African continent a sigh of relief, and with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the run-up to the Copenhagen summit in December, this week declaring, “50 days to save the planet. I think the world must now take note and act to avert disaster the kind the world have never known.