March 20, 2019
While the UN-hosted Africa Climate Week takes place in Ghana aiming to strengthen African governments’ responses to the climate crisis, hundreds are dead and millions of people face severe impacts as cyclone hits Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
GLOBAL – Already considered by the UN as possibly the worst cyclone ever to strike Southern Africa, Idai has ripped through villages and towns in three countries over the last few days, taking over 1000 lives and leaving a trail of destruction. With winds of 195 km/h accompanied by lashing rains, Idai has already affected millions of people, causing floods, landslides and ruining crops and roads.
Showing that the threats under debate are real, the cyclone hit the continent at the same time governments, private sector and other stakeholders are meeting at the Africa Climate Week to discuss possible late commitments to stop global warming.
Landry Ninteretse, Africa Team Leader at 350.org, said:
“For a continent already wracked by its severe impacts, cyclone Idai is just another chilling reminder of the reality of the climate crisis. Whilst the most vulnerable communities are facing the real impacts of climate change on the ground, government authorities are yet to come up with real and strong commitments.”
“The government’s inertia and lack of concrete actions to solve global warming are an insult to people facing untold suffering in every corner of the continent, whereas new coal and mining infrastructure and carbon commodification continue to be allowed.”
More than two million people could have been affected across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, and the real death tolls may not be known for many months as the countries deal with a still unfolding disaster. The port city of Beira, in Mozambique, was hit the hardest, with nearly 80 percent of homes and public infrastructures destroyed.
The number of cyclones and extreme floods in Southern Africa have been increasing in the last years due to the change in weather patterns likely caused by global warming. And while some countries appear to be already reducing carbon emissions and moving towards an energy transition that can contain the worse effects of climate change, Africa continues to be an open field for the fossil fuel industry – especially coal infrastructure -, and is far from getting over with it.
The solutions to the climate crisis are also well known. They include ending coal extraction and mining in the very short term and stop funding new coal infrastructure – mines or power plants -, while accelerating investments in renewables.
International cooperation and funding from industrialised economies are yet necessary to combat climate change. And such efforts should start by not promoting or funding any fossil fuel projects anywhere in the world.”
Nathalia Clark, Global Communications Campaigner, firstname.lastname@example.org, +55 61 991371229