As world leaders gather in Madrid to find solutions to the climate crisis, people in East African countries such as South Sudan, Kenya and Somalia feel the effects first-hand. Constant rains throughout the region have triggered flash floods affecting millions across the region as families were displaced and more than 250 people were killed according to the BBC .
Even though countries on the African continent have contributed very little to it Due to global warming, they are the most susceptible to change. What's happening in East Africa shows what this vulnerability looks like. The countries there have been facing extreme precipitation for months.
"It is a bit unprecedented that it affects so much of the African continent," said John Roche, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in East Africa, Earther said.
The type of flood was also unusual in the region. River flooding is usually slow, said Andrew Kruczkiewicz, senior research associate at Columbia University's International Climate and Society Research Institute, to Earther. The region has been facing flash floods in recent weeks that many people in the region are simply not used to.
"We see these floods from heavy rains from time to time," Kruczkiewicz said. "The most common types of floods, however, when viewed from a regional or national level, are those types of floods, and people's risk perception is more likely to be linked to them." These flash floods happen very fast and catch people unprepared. They have very different effects, such as mudslides and cliff erosion. This will not happen in river floods. "
" This is a region of many, many crises, and now the actual flood is only worsening and playing with these vulnerabilities. "
In fact, a mudslide cost the lives of 17 people in a single Kenyan village last month, while 12 others died in another Kenyan district as a result of landslides . Due to continued rainfall, the authorities could not have adequately assessed the damage suffered by rural communities throughout the region. What the authorities know is that climate change is almost certain to worsen this type of disaster.
"It is not a question of waiting for the effects of climate change," said Roche. "It happens."
A report released on by Save the Children highlights how extreme weather endangers millions in South and East Africa. According to the organization, at least 33 million people in the region were affected by extreme weather events this year alone.
For the people of East Africa, these rains and floods are not just an immediate threat to their lives. They threaten the crops that many farmers depend on to secure their families and livelihoods. Without these crops, food insecurity will certainly be even more urgent in an area where millions of people already rely on food aid . Save the Children estimates that 16 million children in the region are currently suffering from starvation and climate hurricanes such as Kenneth and Idai who are suffering from starvation Role.
"The balance of vulnerability here is such a thin thread between crises," said Roche. "This is a region with many, many crises, and now the actual flood is only exacerbating and playing with these vulnerabilities."