10 worst climate-hit countries suffering double famine rates: Oxfam
Research done by Oxfam states that 18 million people in mostly Africa are suffering extreme hunger as a result of the anthropogenic climate crisis, as the COP27 nears which potentially will discuss the topic among leaders.
Research by the development charity Oxfam studied 10 of the world’s worst climate hotspots, impacted by drought, floods, severe storms, and other extreme weather conditions, and found their rates of extreme hunger in the past six years had more than doubled, and are linked to the climate crisis.
The report covered the countries of Somalia, Haiti, Djibouti, Kenya, Niger, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Madagascar, Burkina Faso, and Zimbabwe, which were considered to have the highest number of UN appeals driven by extreme weather events. It was deduced that 48 million people are currently suffering from acute hunger, as opposed to 21 million people in 2016. According to the Oxfam study published on Thursday, approximately 18 million people of the 48 are on the verge of starvation.
Most of the aforementioned countries are severely hit by drought, especially those in Africa. So far, Somalia has been suffering from the worst drought forcing 1 million people to flee, while 2.5 million livestock have died in Kenya and 2.4 million people are starving. Niger's cereal production has fallen by 40% due to extreme weather, leaving 2.6 million people in acute hunger, while Burkina Faso's desertification of crop and pasture land has driven more than 3.4 million people into severe hunger.
Besides the report, the World Bank warned that nearly 70% of Yemen's 30 million people are at risk of famine in a country that already suffers from high levels of food insecurity.
Executive director of Oxfam International, Gabriel Bucher, said: “Climate change is no longer a ticking timebomb, it is exploding before our eyes. It is making extreme weather such as droughts, cyclones, and floods – which have increased five-fold over the past 50 years – more frequent and more deadly.”
With the combination of rapid global heating and gas prices as a result of the war in Ukraine, fossil fuel companies have been gaining profits, which according to Oxfam, over 18 days would be enough to fulfill the UN’s $49 billion request for humanitarian aid this year.
The upcoming COP27 UN climate talks are due to take place in Egypt in November in which global government leaders will be pressed to plan drastic cuts in greenhouse gases, alongside requesting that wealthy countries be asked to provide financial aid for poor countries to adapt to the effects of the climate crisis.
Bucher stated: “Leaders of rich polluting countries must live up to their promises to cut emissions. They must pay for adaptation measures and loss and damage in low-income countries, as well as immediately inject lifesaving funds to meet the UN appeal to respond to the most impacted countries.” Geopolitical friction due to the war in Ukraine took a toll on the coalition agreed upon at the COP26 in Glasgow last year to aim at limiting global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels and stressed again during the 76th UN General Assembly last September.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that the current level of 1.5°C is an alarming cause for public concern, arguing further that the consequences of global warming beyond 3°C have been underestimated.
A windfall tax on energy and food companies was called for by Bucher along with the cancellation of the debts of the poorest countries. Africa is suffering from hunger and getting worse by the minute, but food billionaires are still enjoying their accumulating wealth despite their ability to cover the UN’s $6.2 billion humanitarian appeal for East Africa with only 2 weeks' worth of their gains.