Photo: Yasuyoshi CHIBA / Getty Images
In the next 20 years, the three most important mountain glaciers in Africa could disappear due to human-induced climate change, according to a report by the United Nations (UN) published this Tuesday.
The report details that more than 1 billion people across the African continent will be affected by sea level rise, floods and droughts due to climate change.
Mount Kenya, the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda and the mighty Kilimanjaro in Tanzania are not large enough to become sources of water, so the melting they are experiencing would cause major flooding. The UN estimates that By 2030, Mount Kenya will become “the first mountain range to lose its glaciers as a result of climate change”.
Petteri Taalas, secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), indicated in the report that the eventual loss of glaciers indicates an “irreversible change” in the environment.
According to the report, more than 15 countries reported deaths and massive displacement of people due to constant flash floods. The opposite is true in southeast Africa, extreme drought and high temperatures have wreaked havoc in countries like Madagascar, currently facing a humanitarian crisis as a result of these factors.
The UN indicates that 2020 was the hottest year ever recorded for the entire African continent. They also indicated that the sea level rose 4.5 millimeters last year.
The report further states that severe droughts or flash floods in the region could increase food security by as much as a 20% in sub-Saharan populations.
For the United Nations, COVID-19 is another of the great threats to Africa, as important as climate change. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has registered more than six million positive cases and nearly 150,000 deaths. However, only just over 10% of infections have been documented across the continent.
“Along with the recovery from COVID-19, improving climate resilience is an urgent and ongoing need. Investments are particularly necessary in capacity building and technology transfer, as well as in improving countries’ early warning systems, including meteorological, water and climate observation systems, ”concluded Taalas.
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