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19 Oct 2021

UN Warning: Africa's Glaciers to Melt, 118 Million Poor People will Suffer

UN Warning: Africa's Glaciers to Melt, 118 Million Poor People will Suffer

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The U.N. climate agency warned on Tuesday that a total of 118 million poor people will face unavoidable drought as Africa's fabled eastern glaciers will vanish in about two decades, there is an expectation of huge floods or extreme heat, and climate change could also shave 3% off continental GDP by mid-century.

Reuters mentioned that the latest report on the state of Africa's climate by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), partnered with African Union agencies, paints a dire picture of the continent's ability to adapt to increasingly frequent weather disasters.

According to one data set, 2020 was Africa's third warmest year on record, 0.86 degrees Celsius above the average temperature in the three decades leading to 2010. It has mostly warmed slower than high-latitude temperate zones, but the impact is still devastating.

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a foreword to the report that "The rapid shrinking of the last remaining glaciers in eastern Africa, which are expected to melt entirely in the near future, signals the threat of ... irreversible change to the Earth system."

It forecast that on current rates all three of Africa's tropical ice fields - Tanzania's Kilimanjaro, Kenya's Mount Kenya, and Uganda's Rwenzoris - would be gone by the 2040s.

The African Union's Agriculture Commissioner Josefa Sacko said that "By 2030, it is estimated that up to 118 million extremely poor people (living on less than $1.90 per day) will be exposed to drought, floods and extreme heat ... if adequate response measures are not put in place."

©Photo: AP