KAMPALA – Drought and flooding in East Africa are displacing millions of people, a migration regional director for the International Organization for Migration (IOM, UN Migration) has said,
Mr Mohammed Abdiker, UN Migration Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa, told the media on the sidelines of the high-level inter-ministerial conference at Speke Resort Hotel Munyonyo on migration, environment, and Climate change drought and flooding were displacing thousands of people
He said catastrophic droughts and floods, paired with ongoing conflicts and poor governance in Somalia, South Sudan and Ethiopia, are also creating a perfect storm in East Africa which risks pushing hundreds of thousands of people into famine.
“We can no longer talk about climate change without talking about human mobility, because this is how climate change is affecting our region, and also our continent,” Abdiker said.
According to the UN Migration regional director for East and Horn of Africa, climate change has been on the agenda for a long time, but the missing link has always been human mobility.
“The impact of displacement and the whole issue of relocation due to climate change is what we need to deal with, and a very good example of climate change-induced migration is the historical drought in Somalia, which is caused by climate change,” said Mr Abdiker.
“In South Sudan, we are seeing flooding waters. In the Tanganyika area in Burundi, we are seeing more and more people being displaced because of the overflowing of Lake Tanganyika. We are seeing a climate emergency and its not about what we do tomorrow, it is about what we do today,” Mr Abdiker said
This comes at the time UK Minister for Africa Mr Vicky Ford announced a new £17 million package of support to countries in East Africa affected by extreme drought and flooding.
Mr Vicky says that for countries in East Africa, climate change is not a future problem – it is driving a humanitarian emergency right now according to Reliefweb.
The UK has prioritised supporting communities affected by extreme weather events such as droughts as host of COP26 in Glasgow. As part of the historic agreement reached at the summit, wealthy nations committed to double the overall climate finance available for adaptation programmes.
Mr Abdiker disclosed that the region must raise the issues of climate-induced mobility at global platforms and, later this year at the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) in order to draw attention to the problem.
“The first thing we shall need is humanitarian assistance, right now millions of people are in need of food assistance, millions of people are in need of shelter and we can look at how we can help them to adopt,” said Abdiker.
The Speke Resort Munyonyo conference on Migration and Climate Change in Kampala seeks to enhance cooperation in relation to climate change-induced human mobility, including migration, displacement and planned relocation.
The conference that ends today has attracted 12 countries from the East and Horn of Africa under the IGAD, EAC and the IOM East and Horn of Africa regions: Burundi, Djibouti, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda.