WHAT are the causes of all those external challenges then? The simple answer to the question is that the cause is no doubt that the globe is faced with what is known as climate change. Furthermore, what are the causes of climate change? Climate change is naturally caused by the weather fluctuations caused by El Nino and La Nina. What are those animals called El Nino and La Nina? The centre of gravity will now to try to explain what are El Nino and La Nina and their impact on the environment.
We may be aware that there are many anthropogenic on the climate, particularly the amount of carbon and greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere caused by what we do on a daily basis. These fluctuations in the weather are known as oscillations or otherwise best-known as El Niño and La Niña. El Nino and La Nina are climatic changes that are difficult to understand. El Nino and La Nina are natural phenomena that take place in oceans all across the world. Some oscillations have limited effects and some greater impacts. While the effect of El Nino and La Nina can be felt by all, it is best understood by scientific researchers and academicians who have studied disciplines such as oceanography, geography, climatology and meteorology.
El Niño and La Niña are of oscillations that have a greater impact on our climate with effects that can be felt all over the globe. There are situations when weather conditions are erratic which can cause problems of either drought or floods. Those effects can therefore, lead to poor crop harvesting and poor grazing for animals. That is exactly what is happening here in Namibia for a continuous two years. El Nino in most cases comes around every five years usually because of the warming in the oceans caused by the winds that could lead to warming diffusion all over the globe. It changes atmospheric pressures with consequences for rainfall, wind patterns, sea surface and temperatures. That change can sometimes have a positive and sometimes a negative effect on the ecosystems. The effects of El Nino can sometimes be elusive and not always be predictable with a degree of precision. However, some oceanographic conditions can still give us early warnings that El Nino is likely to occur. Even though we may be warned and be proactive, the level of catastrophe will always be difficult to measure until El Nino has caught up with us. Hence, in most cases, we shall only be able to react after the damage was already caused.
Like El Nino, La Nina affects the atmospheric pressure, rainfall and ocean temperature. In Europe particularly, El Nino reduces the number of autumnal hurricanes. On the other hand, sometimes La Nina has less effect in Europe but it can lead to milder winters in Northern Europe and colder winters in southern/western Europe that may cause snowing in the Mediterranean region. Elsewhere in the world, areas that are affected by La Nina have been experiencing the opposite of the effects they experienced with El Nino.
Coming closer to home, did SADC experience the effects of El Nino and La Nina at any given time? It is no doubt; this region has been hard hit by El Nino and La Nina to the extent that even animals with their natural instincts have been feeling the effects of climate change. Because of the contrast between El Nino and La Nina, this region has been experiencing the paradoxes of droughts and floods. There are times when the region has experienced paradoxes where one part is faced by severe drought while another part is experiencing severe floods. When this happens simultaneously or sporadically, the region shall suffer equally as it is naturally and structurally interdependent.
From the foregoing, as from last year to date, SADC is faced with severe climate change that has caused severe drought. In turn, drought has caused and continues to cause human suffering and devastation to the economy of the region. That made the economic sustainability in the region very difficult. To illustrate that further, the Chairman of SADC, Botswana President has recognised the effect of this protracted drought that is affecting about 40 million people in the region. As a measure to react to that, he shall formally launch an appeal from International Community for humanitarian support amounting to N$40,5 billion as a mitigation factor to the scourge of drought.That quest for humanitarian assistance appeal is a clear testimony that the regional political leadership has realised the need to rescue people from dire starvation. The request for humanitarian aid is aiming at averting the region from total human suffering. It has also been reported that Namibia shall feed about 600 000 people who are in dire need of food, failure to which they will succumb to starvation. Apart from the need for food, Namibia is also facing a serious water scarcity. To address the dilemma of the combination of food shortage and water scarcity, would demand unreversed and dedicated resources. As the effect of climate change is a global menace, it is not only SADC that is affected. The effect has gone beyond SADC region. In that context, the Rome Humanitarian based UN agencies noted that about USD4 billion will be needed to address humanitarian demands of El Nino. Suffice to say, the impact of El Nino is real of which its effect does not recognise any border. Because the effect of the climate change is not a political or ideological issue, it is therefore, a worldwide war where all leaders must Harambee for a common goal if the world is to circumvent human catastrophe. An injury to one is an injury to all concept shall now apply.
Lieutenant General (rtd) Ndaitwah is a former Chief of the Defence Force. He is now a part time lecturer at UNAM, and Head of
Department and senior lecturer at IUM.
… continues next week
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