A new study published Thursday reveals that the ongoing drought in the Horn of Africa, which includes Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, is now 100 times more likely to occur due to the human-caused climate crisis.
Worst drought in 40 years
The region is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years, which has already caused more than 43,000 deaths in Somalia alone, half of them children under five years of age.
With 36.4 million people currently facing hunger, the failed rainy season of the past five years has made the situation even worse. Cheikh Kane, a member of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Climate Centre, has called it ‘a humanitarian disaster’.
According to a World Weather Attribution (WWA) study, the human-made climate crisis has made drought 100 times more likely in the Horn of Africa region, which includes Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.
The study found that the dry soils in the region, critical for agriculture and herding communities, have been exacerbated by climate change, leading to the severe drought conditions the region is facing. The WWA is a group of scientists looking at the role of climate change in extreme weather events.
The study found that without the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions, conditions in the region would be ‘normal’ or ‘abnormally dry.’
The current drought, responsible for the deaths of more than 43,000 people in Somalia alone and putting 36.4 million people at risk of starvation, has been described as a ‘humanitarian disaster’ by the Red Cross Climate Center and the Red Crescent.
Climate change contributes to agricultural drought in Horn of Africa
The Horn of Africa is experiencing agricultural drought due to rising global temperatures, according to a recent study.
The warmer conditions cause moisture to evaporate from the soil, causing the destruction of crops and pastures in an area where more than half the population depends on agriculture and ranching for their livelihood.
The climate crisis, combined with other factors such as political instability, conflict and poverty, has made droughts more frequent and severe. The author of the study warns that frequent multi-year droughts and heat waves during the rainy season will have significant consequences for food security and human health in the region.
The rainy season from March to May in the region has become drier due to climate change, causing a severe drought that has decimated crops and pastures, and affected the livelihoods of more than half the population.
However, other factors such as conflict, political instability and poverty have also contributed to food insecurity in the region.
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