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Climate emergency will soon be measured in ‘billions’ of deaths

THE climate emergency will soon be measured in billions of deaths, according to a leading climate activist, as the Horn of Africa faces severe drought and famine. 

Almost two million children in the region need urgent treatment for life-threatening severe acute malnutrition, Unicef has estimated.

Northern Kenya is facing its worst drought in 40 years, causing livestock and crops to die and many children to starve.

The annual rains have failed across Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia for the past four years, forcing 1.5 million people to leave their homes in hopes of finding food and water.

Kenyan President William Ruto has declared a national disaster.

The hunger emergency has been accelerated by the war in Ukraine and the aftermath of the pandemic, which has pushed up prices for cooking oil, bread and wheat flour to all-time highs at local markets.

Unicef regional director for eastern and southern Africa Mohamed Malick Fall said: “It’s not the [countries] ironically that are contributing more to that global emission that are paying the heaviest price.”

World Food Programme spokesperson Petroc Wilton added: “We’ve kept the worst at bay so far, but famine right now is an imminent reality in those parts of the bioregion and that could spread if it breaks out.”

Asad Rehman, executive director of War on Want, one of the leaders of the global alliance of non-governmental organisations working on the climate emergency, said: “Hollow promises by rich governments are being paid for in the loss of lives and livelihoods. 

“The window to act is rapidly diminishing when those facing the worst of climate violence won’t be measured in millions but billions.”

Mr Rehman added: “With Cop27 weeks away, the call for climate reparations from the world’s climate criminals grows louder.”

The Cop27 World Climate Summit opens in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt on November 6.

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