Africa: Desperate Story of Climate Change, Hunger
How does climate change fuel hunger in Africa? Read to find out.
Victims of climate change, Credit, Vaultz News
In Kenya, over three million people find themselves on the brink of starvation. Over three million men and women fall into hunger, increasing the number of Africans facing food insufficiency. Over three million persons go to bed without enough nutrition, victims of food insecurity, spending their nights staring at the wall, confronted with associated effects of illness, poverty, and possible destitution.
The figures coming from Somalia appear similar. Hunger pushes 500,000 people out of the country. Due to food insufficiency, 500,000 people flee their homes, in search of water and what to eat for survival. Five hundred thousand men and women flee, because among other reasons, they go to bed without enough nutrition, without enough water, without having the ability to meet their dietary needs.
Malian children, Credit, Anadolu Agency
In Mali, lots of people survive on the verge of starvation. Lots of people experience shortages of food supplies, many of them children. Lack of food renders lots of people vulnerable, unable to cope with growing hunger, faced with malnutrition and starvation, pushed into a long-term state of poverty, destitution, and want.
Alright, armed conflicts push people into starvation in Mali. Ongoing fighting between al-Shabab and the government gets lots of blame for the hunger in Somalia, one of the world’s worst case of displacement centers. But climate change rears its head once again, because though ongoing fighting makes Somalia one of the world’s worst displacement centers, climate proves another factor. In the case of Kenya, it’s a clear case of climate change, with the government declaring a state of emergency, with millions suffering from displacement, with hunger grabbing the residents of that country by the jugular.
In Kenya, the drought struck with devastating consequences. The absence of water hit the East African country, a condition engineered by the change in climate. The sources of water dried up through a climate change-induced evaporation, making millions of Kenyans who depend on the cultivation of crops and livestock to be on the move, some to seek for new pastures, some to find sources of income, some to look for food.
Drought in Somalia, Credit, Arab News
In Somalia, the frequency of drought increased. The trend towards temperature rise became prevalent once again, so hundreds of thousands of people went in search of food and water. The shortage of water reared its head, so much so that since the beginning of 2022, the exodus to search for water gained ground, as people also tried to escape the challenge of poverty and hunger.
Food and nutrition security goes off track in the Sahel. Poor harvest seasons shatter the livelihood of people in Mali. The drying up of the Lake Chad destabilizes northwest Nigeria, with youths taking up arms to escape hunger. Communities in Burkina Faso require humanitarian aid, with lots of people facing starvation, a condition triggered off by the climate change, through the drying up of rivers and rising temperatures.
Unfortunately, the drying up of rivers and rising temperatures make the African situation a desperate one. Poor harvest seasons make one in five people on the continent to face hunger. The droughts make the continent contain more than double the proportion of hungry people in other regions, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to go in search for food and water. Floods and other issues make the continent a net food importer at an annual cost of $43 billion, with the number of people in the Sahel expected to face hunger possibly rising to 40 million, with climate change continuing its havoc through droughts and drying up of river sources.
Flood in Nigeria, Credit, All Africa.com
Unless a solution comes to the fore, residents of the continent face a series of disasters. Unless hunger and famine become things put under a strict control, national governments in Africa face a calamity in the future, because tragedy takes place when certain groups in a society cannot access food. Unless starvation and malnutrition come under control, internal shock continues to prevail, with surging food prices the norm, and nations vulnerable to external shocks.
Breaching the Thresholds
For example, one in five Africans suffer from hunger. If the world breaches a 1.5 degree centigrade temperature limit in the foreseeable future, and Africa allows its problems to spiral out of control, hunger embattles even more people. Urgent actions will be required to save an embattled race of black people in terms of health and education. Urgent actions will have to be taken to prevent even more mass displacement, far more desperate than the one already taking place in countries like Somalia. Urgent action becomes necessary to halt the frequency of conflicts, surging food prices, pandemics, hunger, droughts, flooding, and other vicissitudes
Drought-affected maize farm, Credit, ResearchGate
If the world breaches a 2.4 degree centigrade temperature limit in the near future, African conditions worsen. It worsens, because according to experts, the continent could lose a lot of its current growing area for maize. Embattled by the combination of drought and flooding, the continent could lose a chunk of its growing area for banana, intensifying the challenge of hunger and starvation. With a global warming of a 2.4 degree centigrade, the African continent could lose a lot of its growing area for beans, putting local food systems on the verge of collapse, increasing the possibility of internal and external shocks.
With Africa on the edge of internal and external conflicts, millions of people face a further humanitarian catastrophe. Not only will the continent face the loss of its growing areas for food products, it could face the challenges of pandemics, slated to become frequent in the next few years. Not only will residents of the continent face a soul-crushing hunger, they could also face the possibility of coping with swarms of desert locusts, which have become common in this era of climate change crisis, decimating the continent’s foods. Not only will the continent face the challenge of desert locusts, it could also face surging food prices, putting the lives of children and women and vulnerable people at a great risk.
With the world breaching the three degree centigrade temperature limit, the catastrophic disruptions to the continent could grow, especially if the population of the malnourished rises to 350 million people by 2050. Under such a situation, the number of people challenged by hunger across Somalia could witness an increase. The number of people facing the same condition in Ethiopia, especially if the conflict in the Afar region continues, could escalate, making the country permanently on the list of the International Rescue Committee. The number of Kenyans facing the challenge of starvation could rise, especially when complicated by drought and loss of income and extreme hunger.
In the Sahel, trouble comes to the fore if the world breaches the three degree centigrade threshold. Today, a record number of Malians face starvation. An unprecedented number of Nigeriens face hunger, with experts speculating the figure could rise in the near future. Many people from Burkina Faso confront the challenge of hunger on a daily basis, with armed conflicts complicating the situation, by blocking food markets and causing the displacement of thousands of people.
Refugees, Credit, The Conversation
In short, the displacement of thousands of people seems inevitable in the near future, with the breaches of the temperature thresholds, the situation reminding one of the biblical horsemen. The horsemen of hunger may come visiting nations already confronting the challenge of hunger on a daily basis, bereft of the tools to avoid the obstacle. Unfortunately, the horsemen of starvation, unsparing in their mission of destruction, may come knocking at the doors of nations with conflicts, making sure they remain permanently on the International Rescue Committee’s list, with everyone expecting their situation to deteriorate.
Access to Food
In sum, African nations should build their food systems to cope with the challenge of climate change. According to Amartya Sen, the Indian economist, people should be able to access food. The national governments should make Africans access food, especially when it’s available. People should access food through trade, access food through production, access food through transfers, access food through good policies, and access food through whatever means it takes , in a bid to stem challenges.
Also, millions of Africans face droughts. Very many Africans suffer from a desperate internal displacement crisis, especially nations such as Somalia. Uncountable number of Africans suffocate through the destruction to their farmlands by climate change-induced floods, severely limiting their access to food, thereby cutting down their income. Through a policy like land restoration, lots of Africans can avoid disaster, survive from the problem of having their food systems destroyed, regain their health.
Adaptation options like water management might make many Africans regain their health. Through climate information services, many would increase their access to food, increasing their income. Through the building of infrastructure, many will be able to withstand the possible coming problems of climate change in its worst state, withstand extreme hunger, withstand the destruction to food systems. When food systems become stronger in this era of climate change, millions of Africans will stop living on the brink of starvation.
In other news about hunger in Africa
· The situation in Somalia through the eyes of eleven-year-old Bashir Nur Salat, forced to flee starvation occasioned by drought.
· How Kenya’s fight against obesity masks a serious problem where three million people stand the risk of hunger.
· Hunger rears its head in Mali, after France and allied European countries withdraw their anti-jihadist forces, following diplomatic relations breaking down with the ruling junta.
· Hunger and poverty deepens in Nigeria through the rise in food prices, which puts food beyond the reach of millions of vulnerable people.
What to Cook
Enjoy this succulent dish from Somalia. Photo by Edsel Little, Edsel Little Kifaya’s Kitchen, Cleveland.