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Hunger grips southern Africa as Zimbabwe declares drought a disaster

Hunger grips southern Africa as Zimbabwe declares drought a disaster

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa declared Zimbabwe's drought a national disaster and said the country needed more than $2 billion in aid to feed millions facing hunger. Mnangagwa's statement follows similar announcements by Zambia in late February and Malawi in March, as drought induced by the El Nino global weather pattern triggers a humanitarian crisis in southern Africa.d More than 2.7 million people in Zimbabwe will go hungry this year, Mnangagwa told journalists at the state house in Harare, adding that 80% of the country had received poor rains. "Preliminary assessments show that Zimbabwe requires in excess of $2 billion towards various…
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Tunisia raises drinking water prices by up to 16% due to drought

Tunisia raises drinking water prices by up to 16% due to drought

TUNISIA has raised its drinking water prices by up to 16%, the official gazette said, in response to a drought that has lasted five years. After years of drought, average rainfall has increased in recent months but government officials said this week that Tunisian dams have only reached 35% of their stock capacity. The North African country last year imposed a quota system for drinking water and a ban on its use in agriculture. Since last summer, it has been cutting off water supplies at night. The price of water will be unchanged for small consumers. Those whose consumption exceeds 40 cubic…
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Broken infrastructure, drought cause power rationing in Tanzania, official says

Broken infrastructure, drought cause power rationing in Tanzania, official says

MAINTENANCE issues and climate change-induced water shortages have caused a 400-megawatt electricity shortfall in Tanzania, triggering power rationing across the East African nation, the state power supplier said. Tanzania's national grid, which has an installed capacity of more than 1,900 MW, was suffering from broken infrastructure at gas wells and gas-fired power stations, as well as reduced water levels at hydropower dams, said Gissima Nyamo-Hanga, managing director of the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO). TANESCO, which is wholly owned by the government, expects to complete maintenance operations and resolve the shortfall by the end of March next year, Nyamo-Hanga told…
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Addis Ababa faces growing climate change risks like heat, drought and floods, study warns

Addis Ababa faces growing climate change risks like heat, drought and floods, study warns

ADDIS Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city, will likely face increased heatwaves, droughts and severe flooding over the next 67 years. These changes will pose risks to public health and infrastructure. They’ll also be felt most acutely by the city’s most vulnerable residents: those living in informal settlements. ABAY YIMERE, Postdoctoral Scholar in International Environment and Resource Policy, The Fletcher School, Tufts University Addis Ababa is one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa, and its current metropolitan population of about 5.4 million is projected to reach close to 9 million by 2035. This increase in the city’s population will be absorbed by…
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Five questions for African countries that want to build climate-resilient health systems

Five questions for African countries that want to build climate-resilient health systems

EVERY day seems to bring a new headline about a devastating climate event. African countries aren’t spared. A “rain bomb” in South Africa. Flooding in Nigeria. Cyclones battering Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Madagascar. Drought in Kenya. These events have enormous health and social effects, among them death, injuries, malnutrition and diseases (infectious and non-communicable). This all puts tremendous pressure on countries’ health systems, both in terms of caring for those affected and because facilities like hospitals and clinics are vulnerable to damage and destruction. Authors BOB MASH, Distinguished Professor, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Stellenbosch University CHRISTIAN LUEME…
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Tunisia to cut off public water supplies overnight due to drought

Tunisia to cut off public water supplies overnight due to drought

TAREK AMARA TUNISIA will cut off water supplies to citizens for seven hours a night in response to the country's worst drought on record, state water distribution company SONEDE said in a statement. The country's agriculture ministry earlier introduced a quota system for potable water and banned its use in agriculture until Sept. 30, as the country battles with a drought that is now in its fourth year. SONEDE said in a statement that the water will be cut off daily from 9 p.m. until 4 a.m., with immediate effect. Mosbah Hlali, its head, said the drought in the country was unprecedented…
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Drought in his community turned Joshua Omunuk to climate activism

Drought in his community turned Joshua Omunuk to climate activism

BIRD STORY AGENCY WHEN 27-year-old Joshua Omunuk joined the Rise Up Movement, a platform founded by Vanessa Nakate to elevate the voices of African climate activists, he didn't know this decision would lead him to quit his job as a financial planner. "I had to choose between my job and climate activism because they were both competing for my time. I chose activism because I cannot compare the value of standing up for my people to anything else," he noted. Coming from Teso, eastern Uganda, Omunuk cleared tertiary school in 2019 and realised he was among the most privileged in…
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Drought forces Kenya’s Maasai to sell starving cattle for a pittance

Drought forces Kenya’s Maasai to sell starving cattle for a pittance

EDWIN WAITA COWS too weak to stand, with sores on their hides from lying on the ground and ribcages protruding from their sides -- such is the painful sight faced by Kenya's Maasai herders as they struggle to keep their cattle alive in a severe drought. Livestock is central to the traditional Maasai way of life, not only as the main source of food and income but also as a marker of social status and constant presence, with cows living alongside people inside circular enclosures called kraals. Kenya, along with neighbouring Ethiopia and Somalia, is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years,…
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Why full dams don’t mean water security: a look at South Africa

Why full dams don’t mean water security: a look at South Africa

AFTER good summer rains, the dams that supply water to Johannesburg and much of South Africa’s economic heartland are full. This, then, is the time to start worrying about water supplies. MIKE MULLER, Visiting Adjunct Professor, School of Governance, University of the Witwatersrand It may sound odd but it’s a lesson learnt from cities across the world over the past two decades. Whether it was Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, Chennai in India, Barcelona in Spain or São Paulo in Brazil, we have seen that, too often, water crises occur because societies don’t take action until it’s already too late.…
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Three-quarters of Somali families found lacking water as drought looms

Three-quarters of Somali families found lacking water as drought looms

NITA BHALLA and MOHAMMED OMER NEARLY three-quarters of Somali families lack safe drinking water as drought looms across the country and depletes wells, raising the risk of hunger as crops fail and livestock dies, UK-based charity Save the Children said on Monday. Climate change is taking a heavy toll across eastern Africa, and increasingly erratic weather - from recurring droughts to floods - is becoming commonplace in countries such as Somalia, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. In a survey of more than 630 households in eight of Somalia's 18 regions, the charity said a dearth of seasonal rain last year had…
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