WORLD

Scientists: Climate change worsened Eastern Africa drought

Apr 26, 2023, 10:02 PM

FILE - Somalis who have been displaced due to drought settle at a camp on the outskirts of Dollow, ...

FILE - Somalis who have been displaced due to drought settle at a camp on the outskirts of Dollow, Somalia, Sept. 19, 2022. An international team of climate scientists says the ongoing drought in Eastern Africa has been made worse by human-induced climate change according to a report from World Weather Attribution. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

MALINDI, Kenya (AP) — The ongoing drought in Eastern Africa has been made worse by human-induced climate change, which also made it much likelier to occur in the first place, an international team of climate scientists concluded.

The report Wednesday came from World Weather Attribution, a group that seeks to quickly determine whether certain extreme weather events were influenced by climate change. Nineteen scientists from seven nations assessed how climate change affected rainfall in the region.

“Climate change caused the low rainfall in the region,” Joyce Kimutai, principal meteorologist at the Kenya Meteorological Department said. “Climate change has made the drought exceptional.”

The scientists analyzed historical weather data, including changes in the two main rainfall patterns in the region alongside computer model simulations dating back to the 1800s. They found that the long rains season —March through May — was turning drier and the short rains season — typically October through December — was becoming wetter due to climate change. They called the region’s experience with drought “one of a kind.”

Friederike Otto, senior climate scientist at Imperial College London and the leader of the study, said it underscored how climate change’s effects “strongly depend on how vulnerable we are.”

While climate change has made drought more frequent and extreme in the Horn region, the scientists acknowledged that previous failed rainy seasons, high temperatures, conflict, fragile statehood and poverty are also to blame for the “devastating impacts.”

The United Nations said more than 20 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda and South Sudan have been affected by the drought, with more than 2.2 million displaced in Somalia and Ethiopia and severe maternal risks to hundreds of thousands of expectant or breastfeeding women.

Rod Beadle, head of relief and humanitarian affairs at Food for the Hungry, said almost 15 million children are exposed to acute malnourishment.

“Despite the recent rains in North Kenya, the pressure from previous failed seasons makes for a dire situation. The flooding has impacted livestock and many pastoralists lost their primary livelihoods. The drought conditions have resulted in severely compacted soil that cannot absorb the water; hence the floods are more severe. The country is also facing severe outbreaks of cholera and other diseases as more refugees arrive,” Beadle said.

Development gains in the countries have been offset by a long history of natural disasters, famine and disease, said Guyo Malicha Roba, a food security expert who heads the Jameel Observatory, which works on food insecurity issues in dryland nations.

Roba said the food situation in the region’s drylands has addressed by raising money and with food distributions from governments and humanitarian partners, but more work needs to be done to use early-warning systems to respond more quickly to “food shocks.”

___

Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

World

Associated Press

Microsoft users worldwide report widespread outages affecting banks, airlines and broadcasters

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Microsoft users worldwide, including banks and airlines, reported widespread outages on Friday, hours after the technology company said it was gradually fixing an issue affecting access to Microsoft 365 apps and services. The cause, exact nature and scale of the outage was unclear. Microsoft appeared to suggest in its X […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Espionage trial of US journalist Evan Gershkovich in Russia reaches closing arguments

YEKATERINBURG, Russia (AP) — Court officials said closing arguments began Friday in the trial of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who faces charges of spying that he, the Journal and the U.S. government have vehemently denied. U.S. officials and The Wall Street Journal have denounced the trial that began last month as a sham […]

4 hours ago

FILE - President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus gives a speech during a military parade in Minsk, ...

Associated Press

Leader of Belarus marks 30 years in power after crushing all dissent and cozying up to Moscow

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — For three decades, European leaders have come and gone by the dozens, but Alexander Lukashenko remains in absolute control of Belarus. His longevity is due to a mixture of harshly silencing all dissent, reverting to Soviet-style economic controls and methods, and cozying up to Russia, even as he sometimes flirted with […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

US Treasury sanctions Sierra Leone man for allegedly smuggling migrants into the United States

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions Thursday on a man from Sierra Leone for allegedly smuggling thousands of migrants from Asia and Africa into the United States. The ring allegedly run by Abdul Karim Conteh provided false documents and drove migrants to the border and offered advice on how to cross, […]

16 hours ago

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts as he walks from the 18th green following his opening round...

Associated Press

McIlroy, DeChambeau stumble badly out of the gates at British Open

TROON, Scotland (AP) — So much for the British Open being one last stand for Rory McIlroy in the majors this year. His best hope now is getting beyond one more day. And he has company from U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau. The protagonists from Pinehurst No. 2 were no match for a wind that […]

17 hours ago

FILE - A brigade from the Electric Power Authority repairs distribution lines damaged by Hurricane ...

Associated Press

US announces $325 million in funding to boost Puerto Rico solar projects as power outages persist

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The U.S. government announced Thursday that $325 million in federal funds will be available for solar and battery storage installations across Puerto Rico as the U.S. territory struggles with chronic power outages. The program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, will target community centers and healthcare facilities, as […]

18 hours ago

Scientists: Climate change worsened Eastern Africa drought