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News: Oxfam reveals over $30 billion loss to East African nations due to climate change impacts

The Somali region of Ethiopia has been severely affected by three consecutive years of devastating drought (Photo: unsdg.un.org/)

Addis Abeba – A new report by Oxfam has revealed a loss of over $30 billion in four East African nations—Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and South Sudan—as a result of climate change impacts since 2021. This distressing news comes as African leaders gather in Nairobi, Kenya, to establish a unified stance and discuss strategies for allocating funds to address the pressing environmental priorities of the continent ahead of forthcoming global conferences.

The report, titled “Unfair Share,” was published by Oxfam on 04 September 2023. It highlights that the biggest polluting nations have failed to meet the climate and humanitarian funding needs of the East African countries, which are currently suffering from a climate-fueled hunger crisis.

Despite being largely responsible for the worsening climate crisis in East Africa, rich nations only provided $2.4 billion in climate-related development finance to Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and South Sudan in 2021, according to the UK aid agency. This is in stark contrast to the $53.3 billion East African nations say they need annually to meet the 2030 climate goals.  

In a press statement, Fati N’zi-Hassane, Oxfam in Africa Director, expressed disappointment, stating, “Even by their own generous accounts, polluting nations have delivered only a pittance to help East Africa scale up their mitigation and adaptation efforts.”

The report reveals that the four East African countries have suffered $7.4 billion in livestock losses alone due to climate change. A prolonged drought and erratic rainfall have recently resulted in the deaths of nearly 13 million animals and the devastation of hundreds of thousands of hectares of crops, leaving millions without income or food. As a result, over 40 million people across the four countries are suffering from severe hunger caused by a two-year drought, years of flooding, displacement, and conflict.

In recent years, East African nations have faced one of the worst droughts in recorded history. Extreme weather, increasingly severe and frequent, is identified as the main driver of hunger in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and partially in South Sudan, where climate change has made drought 100 times more likely.

Since 2021, the number of individuals requiring urgent assistance in the four countries has surged by over double, soaring from 20.7 million to 43.5 million. Unfortunately, humanitarian organizations are now confronted with a severe financial shortfall to provide aid to those in need.

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The United Nations estimates that a staggering $8.74 billion is necessary to safeguard lives in East Africa. However, only a quarter of the funding has been secured so far.

“At the heart of East Africa’s hunger crisis lies an abhorrent climate injustice,” stated N’zi-Hassane. “Rich polluting nations continue to rig the system by disregarding the billions owed to East Africa, while millions of people are left to starve due to repeated climate shocks.”

Currently, African leaders are gathered in Kenya to address the continent’s increasing vulnerability to climate change and the associated costs. Despite accounting for 3% of the world’s carbon emissions, Africa has been the most affected continent by global warming. AS

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