Africa hit worst by ex­treme weather

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Four of the 10 coun­tries ham­mered hard­est in 2015 by cli­mate-boosted ex­treme weather are in Africa, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased Tues­day at UN cli­mate talks in Marrakesh. “Africa is es­pe­cially vul­ner­a­ble to the im­pacts of cli­mate change,” said Sonke Kreft, lead au­thor of the Global Cli­mate Risk In­dex 2017 re­port, is­sued an­nu­ally by risk an­a­lysts Ger­man­watch. Poor coun­tries in gen­eral are more ex­posed to the rav­ages of su­per­storms, drought, heat­waves and flood­ing, all of which have be­come more in­tense and fre­quent due to hu­man-in­duced global warm­ing.

“The dis­tri­bu­tion of cli­matic events is not fair,” Kreft said, not­ing that the world’s least de­vel­oped coun­tries have emit­ted only a small frac­tion of the green­house gases heat­ing up the planet. Mozam­bique tops the list of na­tions most af­fected on the 2015 cli­mate risk in­dex, fol­lowed by Do­minica, Malawi and In­dia. Myan­mar, Ghana and Mada­gas­car are also among the top 10.

The in­dex mea­sures level of ex­po­sure and vul­ner­a­bil­ity to ex­treme events. Cli­mate mod­els pre­dict­ing that global warm­ing en­hances both the in­ten­sity and fre­quency of such events have been borne out by a crescendo of deadly weather, es­pe­cially over the last decade. More than half-a-mil­lion peo­ple worldwide died as a di­rect re­sult of al­most 11,000 ex­treme weather events from 1996 to 2015, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, which has been track­ing risk, coun­try-by-coun­try, for more than a decade. Storms, heat­waves, floods and other cli­mate-re­lated nat­u­ral dis­as­ters caused up­wards of three tril­lion dol­lars (2.7 tril­lion eu­ros) dam­age over the same pe­riod.

Dur­ing those two decades, the coun­tries worst hit were Hon­duras, Myan­mar and Haiti. The Philip­pines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Viet­nam and Thailand were also among the worst af­fected, tak­ing into ac­count both lives lost and the cost of dam­age. The re­port does not fac­tor out what per­cent­age of the dam­age done can be at­trib­uted di­rectly to global warm­ing. — AFP

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