Life, Africa

Climate change takes toll on Zimbabwe amid cyclones

Experts say natural disasters like Cyclone Idai only tip of iceberg

Jeffrey Moyo   | 12.04.2019
Climate change takes toll on Zimbabwe amid cyclones

CHIMANIMANI, Zimbabwe

Cyclone Idai has left behind rubble where houses once stood in the mountainous Chimanimani area of Zimbabwe.

Some residents like Jethro Muyendamberi, a 47-year old man, has lost his entire family to the storm which spread destruction across Southeast Africa with gusty winds and severe flooding.

Idai left hundreds of people dead and affected more than 2.6 million others.

As many cyclone-hit Zimbabweans like Muyendamberi count loses, experts warn that disasters resulting from climate change impacts may just be beginning.

“It is just the beginning. Impacts of climate change effects will be felt more and more as we go and the impacts will grow more fatal than what has been witnessed in Chimanimani. People must brace for the worse,” Happison Chikova, an independent climate change expert in Zimbabwe, told Anadolu Agency.

"Cyclone Idai is one evident indication of the climate change reality which is fast becoming the largest single menace to humanity," he said.

Even meteorological experts in this country like Melford Chacha have said "changes to the world's temperature, as well as ocean warming, have led to an increase of tropical cyclones."

“As the ocean is warming, the region which experiences temperatures favorable to tropical cyclone creation is intensifying and temperatures in the tropical regions are becoming warm enough for cyclone amplification. So, Zimbabwe like the rest of the African continent is faced with the crisis of climate change estimated to worsen as temperatures warm up,” Chacha told Anadolu Agency.

Even newspaper columnists like Peter Makwanya of the Newsday, have pinned the blame for Idai on the changing climate in the South African nation, but also blaming the country’s politicians for lack of understanding about the dire consequences climate change poses.

“As climate change-induced disasters continue to wreak havoc in Southern Africa where lives are lost and infrastructure destroyed, our politicians appear confused and clueless and banal. Of course, no one can control natural disasters, but basic climate-change literacy is significant in conscientizing people of the approach needed in dealing with such disasters,” Makwanya wrote in Newsday in March after the cyclone struck.

Joseph Tasosa, executive director of the Zimbabwe National Environment Trust which advocates for proper environmental governance, told Anadolu Agency: “A clear result of climate change impacts, warmer air temperatures mean more and more rains are held and then released, which has been the case before cyclone struck here. So Idai brought almost a year’s worth of rain in a short space of time.”

Villagers blame leaders

Villagers hit by the cyclone blame their leaders for not bothering to issue a warning.

Dairai Manjoro, 57, said: "Our leaders, even councillors, have not bothered to enlighten us on climate change. We were hit by surprise by the storm, consequently losing all our belongings including livestock, huge tracts of fertile farming land that were eroded by the floods."

But even as many like Manjoro blame politicians for lacking knowledge about climate change, activists like Robert Machirori maintain politicians need to be taken to task in contending with climate change impacts.

“We should impel politicians to implement the Paris obligations to help prone countries like ours to bear the effects of climate change,” Machirori told Anadolu Agency.

The world's rich nations pledged in Paris in 2015 to ramp up aid to $100 billion every year in restorative climate funding to poorer nations by 2020, because industrialization in the developed world caused most of the current rise in global temperatures.

Just 10% of the climate change funding has been secured so far.

Without the global climate change fund, experts have been on record saying the rapidly changing climate meant the destructive power of storms such as Cyclone Idai was only going to worsen in future.

“There are no industries here neither do people here have much activities that threaten the environment that could have led to cyclone Idai. It’s unfortunate that people here suffer the consequences of climate change impacts when they hardly contribute to climate change,’ Jonathan Gudza, a 71-year old retired high school teacher, told Anadolu Agency in Chimanimani.

As many like Gudza deny responsibility for climate change impacts, government environmentalists like Denis Chirombo think otherwise.

“Many people still depend on firewood in Zimbabwe, at times with even those people living in towns; they cut trees randomly and now when storms visit, it is easier for them (storms) to unleash untold destruction because there is very little standing in their way,” Chirombo told Anadolu Agency.

Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.
Related topics
Bu haberi paylaşın