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Madagascar “heartbreaking” is a warning signal in the face of the climate crisis

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ROME (AP) – The drought-stricken island nation of Madagascar is a ‘wake-up call’ on what the world can expect in the years to come due to climate change, the chief said on Tuesday from the United Nations Food Aid Agency.

David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Program, told The Associated Press in an interview that what is happening in the country’s southern Indian Ocean is “the beginning of what we can expect” as that the effects of global warming become more pronounced. .

Madagascar was heartbreaking,” Beasley said, referring to his recent visit there. “It’s just hopeless.” ″


Some 38 million people around the world were displaced last year due to climate change, leaving them vulnerable to hunger, according to Beasley. In a worst-case scenario, that number could reach 216 million people displaced by climate change by 2050.

This is the year when many industrialized countries – but not China, Russia or India – set themselves the goal of achieving carbon neutrality, that is to say of reducing gas emissions. greenhouse effect to the point where they can be absorbed and actually add zero to the atmosphere.

When Beasley, a former governor of South Carolina, took over as head of the World Food Program in 2017, the main reason people were on the brink of famine was human-caused conflict, followed by climate change, a he declared.

But since then, climate change has eclipsed conflict as it drives people to displacement and leaves them unsure of where their next meal will come from. Last year around 38 million, he said, were displaced “strictly because of climate shocks, climate change,” Beasley said.

“I would like to think that this is the worst case scenario – 216 million people by 2050 who will migrate or be displaced by climate change,” he said.

In Ethiopia, the conflict has created a man-made famine.

The World Food Program estimates that 5.2 million people are in need of emergency food assistance in Tigray, the northern region of Ethiopia. United Nations officials have warned in recent weeks that more than 400,000 people could be at risk of starvation and death if humanitarian aid is not delivered quickly, but hardly any aid can reach those who desperately need it. to eat.

Tigray forces say they are pressuring the Ethiopian government to lift a months-long blockade on their region of about 6 million people, where basic services have been cut and food aid and humanitarian medical refused.

Beasley says WFP has “sent a message to all parties, including the Ethiopian government and leaders, that this is a crisis” requiring immediate access to food aid. But “we are not moving forward,” he said.

“We are not able to bring in trucks (food aid) or bring in fuel. We are not even able to provide the money to the people we have to pay,” Beasley told the ‘AP.

As a result, the people of Tigray “must die in unprecedented numbers, but we cannot get the access we need,” he said. “It’s a shame.”

For many residents of Tigray, Beasley said, it comes down to “either die or migrate.”

Updated figures on the food insecurity situation in the region are expected next week, he said.


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