Climate change risks 'runaway' humanitarian crisis, aid system collapse, UN warns
GLASGOW, Nov 9 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - In the six years since the Paris Agreement on climate change was adopted in 2015, Madagascar has had only one decent rainy season, leaving more than a million people severely hungry in the southeast African island nation.
The drought and unexpected sandstorms have ruined crops in the south, according to the U.N. World Food Programme, forcing families to eat locusts, wild leaves and cacti, with their malnourished children too weak to laugh or cry.
About 14,000 people in Madagascar are now on the brink of famine.
From Madagascar to Afghanistan, where drought is displacing people already beset by conflict, hotter global temperatures are stoking hunger, poverty and migration among tens of millions in the most fragile countries, U.N. agencies warned on Tuesday.
Aid workers are struggling to keep pace with the rising number of disasters even at global warming of 1.2 degrees Celsius today, the U.N. humanitarian agency OCHA said at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, pointing to the challenges of operating in troubled places like Haiti, Mali and Yemen.
"A rise of 2.7C, our current trajectory, or beyond would lead to a runaway global humanitarian crisis, the sheer magnitude of which would seriously threaten the (aid) system’s collapse," it said in a preview of a report to be released early next year.
The research highlights that from 2000-2019, nearly 7,000 disasters were recorded worldwide, a rise of 83% from the previous two decades, with floods increasing by 134% over that same period and extreme temperature events by 232%.
"I believe we have already run out of time," OCHA's chief of policy Hansjoerg Strohmeyer told journalists in Glasgow.
"Tens of millions today have run out of time, because for them, the climate crisis is real - it's daily, it's irreversible and it's now."
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