Climate Change-Induced Storms Wreak Havoc Across Southern Africa - Study

Published on: 13 April 2022
by KnowESG

Southern Africa has become the victim of storms fuelled by climate change. Data from the World Weather Attribution show that torrential rainfalls have become more common now, destroying houses, causing power outages, and increasingly impacting the day-to-day lives of humans, throwing them into extreme poverty.

According to researchers, the study shows that extreme weather in Southern Africa is due to increasing global warming caused by humans. Three cyclones and two tropical storms battered the region in six weeks.

Extreme rainfall and floods affected over one million people, with 230 deaths reported, World Weather Attribution (WWA) added. But scientists cannot attribute the damage caused by the storms directly to climate change because of a lack of long-term data.

The devastation began with storm Ana causing widespread damage in Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar. Many people lost lives, and tens of thousands were left with no access to basic facilities such as drinking water, food, electricity, and infrastructure, including roads and bridges washed away in the storms.

The president of Malawi announced a state of emergency. Some people had to carry the dead bodies of their relatives to burials due to damaged roads.

The scientists said, "the precise contribution of climate change to the event could not be quantified due to the absence of comprehensive historical records of rainfall in the region". They said four out of the 23 weather stations in affected regions of Mozambique had data going back to 1981, while Madagascar and Malawi have no weather stations with adequate data for the study.

However, one of the scientists involved in the study said that the climate crisis made the storms intense. The scientific community, through the study, have urged the world leaders to act immediately to stop the climate change and demanded comprehensive efforts.

Dr Friederike Otto from Imperial College London said: "The rainfall associated with such storms has become more likely and more intense. What we can say for sure is, damages of such storms have become worse."

"Again we are seeing how the people with the least responsibility for climate change are bearing the brunt of the impacts. Rich countries should honour their commitments and increase much-needed funding for adaptation, and for compensating the victims of extreme events driven by climate change."

Dr Izidine Pinto from the University of Cape Town said: " such a change would help us better understand extreme weather events fuelled by climate change, prepare vulnerable people and infrastructure to better cope with them."