The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Main Topic: Focus on Horn of Africa Drought
Dear Diary. Yesterday I had written that there appeared to be a race between the western U.S. drought and the European drought to see which one was worse. I stated that I could not tell which one was worse. Unfortunately, there are other entries in this awful contest across the planet. Two more are one in China and another across the Horn of Africa area. We have now lived to see an era in which climate change is bringing multiple simultaneous disasters to the planet at about 1.2° above preindustrial conditions for global average temperatures.
Today let’s concentrate on Africa.
Not many of you know that I’m a big music lover. I used to collect C.D.’s just like some collect stamps. In fact, I collected over 4,000 titles over time. I’m old enough to remember the inspirational 1985 Live Aid concert during the prime of my youth. In my opinion, this was the best rock concert in the history of the planet before or since in scope and for charity. From Wikipedia:
Buerk’s news piece on the BBC was seen by Irish singer Bob Geldof, who quickly organised the charity supergroup Band Aid, primarily made up of the biggest British and Irish artists of the era. Their single, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?“, was released on 3 December 1984 and became Britain’s best-selling single within a few weeks, eventually selling 3.69 million copies domestically. It raised £8 million for famine relief within twelve months of its release. Other charity singles soon followed; released in March 1985, “We Are the World” by USA for Africa was the most successful of these, selling 20 million copies worldwide.
Live Aid, a 1985 fund-raising effort headed by Geldof, induced millions of people in the West to donate money and to urge their governments to participate in the relief effort in Ethiopia. Some of the proceeds also went to the famine hit areas of Eritrea. The event raised £145 million.
A widespread famine affected Ethiopia from 1983 to 1985. The worst famine to hit the country in a century, it affected 7.75 million people (out of Ethiopia‘s 38–40 million) and left approximately 300,000 to 1.2 million dead. 2.5 million people were internally displaced whereas 400,000 refugees left Ethiopia. Almost 200,000 children were orphaned.
According to Human Rights Watch, more than half its mortality could be attributed to “human rights abuses causing the famine to come earlier, strike harder and extend further than would otherwise have been the case”. According to the United States Agency for International Development, “in the fall of 1984, the hardest hit regions were Tigray, Wollo, and Eritrea – areas with extremely limited road and transportation networks. Moreover, these regions were the scenes of longstanding anti-government rebellions which created precarious security situations”. Other areas of Ethiopia experienced famine for similar reasons, resulting in tens of thousands of additional deaths. The famine as a whole took place a decade into the Ethiopian Civil War.
The famine of 1983–1985 is officially ascribed to drought. In recent years, the favored explanation for the famine of 1983–1985 is “war and drought“. According to the organizations Human Rights Watch and Oxfam UK, the famines that struck Ethiopia between 1961 and 1985, and in particular the one of 1983–1985, were in part created by the government’s military policies, specifically a set of so-called counter-insurgency strategies (against Tigray People’s Liberation Front guerrilla-soldiers), and for “social transformation” in non-insurgent areas (against people of Tigray Province, Wollo Province and such).
The world was galvanized in the mid 1980’s because of one drought in Africa. Now that there are multiple simultaneous historic droughts going on in 2022, not so much. It’s almost as if we have entered an every man for himself time, although some aid is coming into Africa, but not nearly enough to avoid hundreds of thousands of deaths…again. Today there are no plans for another Live Aid concert to help people suffering from drought anywhere, unfortunately. There should be coming from the modern music industry, but there are none planned to my knowledge.
Here is a new Washington Post article describing what is going on across the Horn of Africa:
Why East Africa’s Facing Its Worst Famine in Decades
Analysis by Mike Cohen | Bloomberg
August 18, 2022 at 12:31 a.m. EDT
A humanitarian disaster is unfolding in East Africa, which is in the grip of its worst drought in at least four decades. More than 80 million people across Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda and Djibouti are food insecure, and almost half of them are having to sell their possessions in order to eat, according to the World Health Organization. With forecasters seeing a high risk of rains failing for a fifth consecutive season and aid flows falling short of what’s needed, the region is at risk of a famine that’s on a par with — or even worse than — one that Ethiopia experienced in the 1980s and claimed an estimated 1 million lives.
1. How dire is the current situation?
Malnourishment is already widespread, especially among children, millions of whom need treatment. Millions of head of livestock have died, vast swathes of croplands have been decimated, and rural communities have been torn apart as families migrate in search of food and grazing. Many parents can’t afford to keep their children in school, drop-out rates have soared and there are reports of girls as young as nine being married off for dowry payments or to ease economic pressure on households. While Europe, parts of the US and other regions are also experiencing severe droughts, they are better equipped to deal with the fallout than cash-strapped African nations.
2. What’s the backdrop?
Climate change has resulted in extreme weather patterns, and nations across Africa have increasingly been contending with drought and flash floods. The coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have compounded the continent’s woes, making it more expensive and difficult to obtain supplies of food, fuel and fertilizer. Food prices have since eased, but relief has yet to filter through to most consumers. Hunger is especially pervasive in the Horn of Africa nations of Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network.
3. Are there other contributing factors?
An infestation of locusts, which thrive in hot and dry conditions, have wiped out crops across large parts of eastern Africa. Somalia and Ethiopia have also been contending with internal conflict that’s disrupted farming and made it dangerous to distribute aid. In Somalia, militant group al-Shabaab has been trying to topple the government since 2006 and impose its version of Islamic law. And in Ethiopia, the government and rebels from the northern Tigray region fought a civil war that dragged on for more than 16 months before a truce was agreed in March. Tensions are still high and relief agencies say getting access to conflict-hit areas remains challenging. Kenya held presidential elections on Aug. 9 that may have diverted some attention away from the drought.
4. Who has been trying to help?
The US says it gave more than $6.6 billion in humanitarian and food assistance to Africa in the first seven months of 2022, which would make it the single biggest donor. The European Union, Canada, Sweden, Germany and the UK were also leading contributors. Kenya’s government has introduced corn and fuel subsidies but says it can’t afford to maintain them indefinitely. While Somalia needs $1.5 billion to help 7 million needy people — almost half the population — only 79% had been pledged by early August, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The shortfall was even bigger for Ethiopia, with just a third of the $3.1 billion that’s required to help 20 million people committed.
5. What about West Africa?
The Sahel region is confronting a hunger crisis of its own, mainly due to ongoing conflict that’s decimated food production and exacerbated the impact of higher grain prices and the pandemic. More than 38 million people in the arid area on the southern fringe of the Sahara are food insecure, a 40% increase from a year ago, according to the Alliance for International Medical Action. Nigeria is contending with attacks by Islamic State and Boko Haram Islamist militants in the northeast of the country and a surge in banditry in the northwest, while insurgents have been wreaking havoc across Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.
Here are some more “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks:
Here is more climate and weather news from Thursday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
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Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”