It’s been over three years since the earthquake in Haiti devastated the capital Port-au-Prince, killing an estimated 230,000 people and leaving 1.2 million homeless.
Despite forecasts indicating a good harvest this fall, millions of vulnerable people across West Africa’s Sahel region will not have enough food to eat again this year. Many are still reeling from 2011-12, when poor rains and high food prices left 18 million people without sufficient food and a million children at risk of starvation.
In the shade of a tree, a group of girls crush rocks, pounding away relentlessly with heavy stone clubs. It is the middle of the day here in Boulyiba, Burkina Faso. The dry season is almost at an end, and the temperature hovers above 100°F, yet these girls have a great deal of hard work ahead of them. Their father, Assane, has brought a whole pile of rocks back from a gold mine 15 kilometers from their village.
This post originally appeared on the SahelNow blog.
If you drive along the roads of northern Burkina Faso, as my colleagues and I have these past two weeks, you won’t always see the usual signs of human activity. While the population here is growing rapidly, the Sahel remains a sparsely populated region, and desiccated savannah dominates the landscape – stretching for miles into the distance.
Africa’s Sahel region is home to some of the world’s poorest and least developed countries. But in recent years, more erratic weather coupled with political unrest, has had grave impacts on Sahelian populations. Instability brought on by conflict and growing food insecurity has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes. And these impacts are only likely to increase in the decades to come as millions of vulnerable, agriculture-dependent families across the region face increased climate variability.
This post is the second in a special series on climate displacement in Kiribati. Click here to read the first post.
The I-Kiribati (as the citizens of Kiribati are known) are a strong and proud people. Their culture – the katei or traditional way of life – involves a strong sense of personal pride, respect, and openness to foreigners. The I-Kiribati also have a deep spiritual connection to their land.
Every day we see the effects of climate change on our environment, whether it is the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy in the northeast United States, or the 2011 heat wave and drought in Texas.
More recently, world leaders have begun to focus on the link between severe weather and climate change, and this has led to significant public discussion about our vulnerabilities to climate change and the steps we can take to adapt.