Kenya’s president warned of a “disastrous turn of events” in Eastern Africa during a speech at the international climate talks (COP28) in Dubai.
President William Ruto emphasised how quickly the worst drought the region had seen in more than 40 years gave way to devastating flooding, which left tens of thousands of people displaced across Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia and resulted in over 200 fatalities.
He said, “A spectacular situation of this disastrous turn of events is currently unfolding in Eastern Africa, where catastrophic flooding has swiftly followed the most severe drought the region has seen in over 40 years. Scientific evidence clearly and strongly links these extreme weather events to human induced climate change. Studies indicate that droughts are now at least 100 times more likely in parts of Africa than they were in the pre-industrial era. This translates into a dramatic reduction in long term rainfall. While short term, rainfall patterns remain erratic and unpredictable. All of us are already living in this dire reality. Kenya has been besieged by relentless torrents that have claimed lives and displaced countless communities.”
The previous drought was earlier declared by the UN to be the “worst in the past 40 years.” Ruto underlined the imbalance’s disproportionate effects on the area and called for quick, broad-based action to correct it.
Kenya and other developing nations are pleading with the international community, especially the wealthy, to keep their promises and provide millions of dollars to help address the climate catastrophe.
Ruto emphasised how Africa, which produces less than 3% of greenhouse gases but is disproportionately affected by the global climate crisis, continues to struggle with the negative effects of climate change.