Saturday, October 31, 2009

Can Kampala Convention help climate change migrants?

  The birth rights for life protection of people displaced by natural disasters, resulted from climate change especially during the last few decades invite attention by the policy and law makers of the higher officals in Africa, reports of IRIN news .

The Kampala Convention, a unique treaty adopted by the African Union (AU), promises to protect and assist millions of Africans displaced within their own countries. The treaty recognizes natural disasters, and  conflict and generalized violence prime factors that displace people heartlessly. Jean Ping, chairperson of the Commission of the African Union is optimistic about the inclusion of displacement by natural disasters was informed by the global debate on the need to develop a framework for the rights of "climate refugees" - people uprooted from their homes and crossing international borders - because the changing climate threatened their survival.

 So far Internationally Displaced persons (IDPS) are not protected in Africa.
  This new effort from the delegates of African Union will pave a path for international agencies to cooperate with Internationally Displaced Persons in Africa. But the idea while offering promises and security to the innocent and uneducated people who are thrown into forced migration arises from unexpected natural calamities, it also leaves some question of its effectiveness. The main reasons are African Union is still a growing mechanism in its soil, the divided and non-democratic states in many parts of Africa and the devastated state of level of education and awareness, and economic insuffiency to curb such unexpectaed migration, its vastness and magnitude, when it really in peak and happening. 
  These are all realities. But the ground truth is that effort is initiated and humanity will extend there support from every part of the world to help there mothers and children, and brothers and sisters to secure their life and livelihoods and make them to feel at home!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Climate change effects in East Africa: health vulnerabilies in Ethiopia

The last few years especially the last decade has faced more challenges on the life in East Africa due to the extreme climate change effects.  In 2008, from 21-27 September, the Ethiopian health ministry reported 634 new cases and one death in Afar, Amhara, Somali, Oromiya, Southern regions and in the capital, Addis Ababa. The UN Office website: , highlight the alarming situation happened in Ehtiopia, last as recent evidences of climate change effects.  
WHO noted that nutrition surveys conducted in Amhara, Oromiya and Southern regions between July and September had revealed "serious" to "normal" conditions, with global acute malnutrition ranging from 10.8-12.8 percent in parts of Amhara and Oromiya, indicating a serious nutritional status.
  The outbreak of diarrhoea is mainly concentrated on the pilgrims to and from from holy sites in Addis Ababa and it is reported that the holy water sites are the source of infection and also the infected ponds, wells and rivers.
  Erratic and late rains, failed agricultural production, increased prices for basic food grains and the non-availability of food materials to the most needed people in the rural villages and the lack of support from the international food supplying agencies in war foot manner have been considered as the main reasons for the food crisis and the realted health risks in the recent times in Ethiopia. The climate researchers have not done their basic adaptation and mitigation straegies to work out for local authorities to controll the health and food shortage risks in the rural Ethiopia.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Climate change effects in East Africa: Northern Ethiopian scenario

         Climate change effects are now world wide phenomenon since the last many decades. The increasing temperature, rising global sea-level, spreading forest fires, and depleting natural resources, like surface and ground water reserources, are the alarming effects. The third world countries are the most vulnerable to these situations. Developed countries are trying to adapt or mitigate the climate change effects.

   The scenario in East Africa, especailly in Ethiopia is very alarming. The country of Ethiopia, is otherwise also in the mosy vulnerable state as they are always affected by frequent droughts and famine. The increased population, high percentage of poor and the uneducated village population, inadequate resources for food, water, shelter and the extreme variations in the day to day weather, etc. all causes increased rate of spreading of deseases and death in the Ethiopian Highlands and other areas. The Northern most Regional State of Tigray has more stress due to increased rate of evaporation which causes depletion of surface water reservoirs and the drying of the earth surface there by leaving difficult for irrigation of agriculautral fileds, production of hydropower, etc leaving the northern Ethiopia in darkness at night and also non-availability of power during the day time for indutrial production during the end of summer season.

Drying of the agricultural fields common scene
in Mekelle, Tigray, Ethiopia.

   Recent decrease in the annual rain fall rates and the non-preparedness to combat the drought situations from the local government authorities have made the situation worst for farmers of Tigray state. The recent case is the less amount of rain fall that has received in the July to September months in 2009. This is already reflected in the production of most essential food grains in Tigray state. It will reflect more drastically in the coming months, especially during the 2010 summer months while allocating the power to the industries and the domestic users during the day and night schedule. Also the non-availabiltiy of drinking water and other domestic and industrial water requirements will face more stress in the highlanders of Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government has to make thorough studies and preparedness to combat such situations in the 2010 summer.

Dr. Rajeevan Moothal, Assistant Professor,
Dept. of Earth Science, College of Natural and Computational Science,
Mekelle University, Arid Campus, Mekelle, Ethiopia.