Climate Disasters Take Toll on Africa in 2022

Somalia. Dahera (28) holds the hand of her son Mashallah (2) at the WFP-funded Kabasa Health Center in Dolow. WFP/Samantha Reinders

By Ally Jamah

A recent analysis of extreme weather events in Africa linked to the global climate crisis reveals that they killed at least 4,000 people and affected 19 million others this year. The toll could be higher due to data gaps.  

The analysis by Carbon Brief underscores the need for industrialized countries that are most responsible for the global climate crisis to support African nations for the widespread loss and damage incurred from climate-related disasters.

Compiled from disaster data, humanitarian reports, and local testimony, the analysis noted that catastrophic floods, droughts, and extreme heat in Africa did not receive as much media coverage as climate events in the Global North such as the recent US hurricane season and heat wave in the UK.

The Carbon Brief analysis indicates that Africa has suffered at least 29 flood disasters this year , including in West Africa where the worst floods in a decade across Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Cameroon have affected at least 3.4 million people. Sudan and South Sudan are battling historic floods for a fourth consecutive year.

Also, the Horn of Africa is in the grip of the worst drought in 40 years, affecting millions of people in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya. Many other parts of Africa such as Chad and Niger have not been spared.

Southern African countries, including in Madagascar and Mozambique, were battered by six severe tropical storms and cyclones this year, killing at least 890 people and impacting 2.8 million. The resultant flooding and rains contributed to outbreaks of water-borne diseases, food insecurity, and malnutrition. A study found that climate change increased the likelihood and intensity of the rainfall associated with tropical storms in the region.

In Tunisia, temperatures reached 48 °C in July in the capital Tunis triggering devastating wildfires. Neighbouring Algeria too reported more than 100 fires in August that killed 44 people and displaced thousands. The Central African Republic also faced forest fires amid high temperatures and drought. In March, Kenya suffered scorching temperatures with the northern town of Lodwar recording 40 °C

Africa, which emits less than 4% of greenhouse gases that are driving climate change, plans to vigorously pursue a loss and damage deal at the upcoming United Nations climate conference in Egypt in November. Global North countries have not agreed yet to discuss the issue.

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