Dr Ernest Afiesimama (middle), Regional Programme Manager, World Meteorological Organisation, interacting with some participants in the workshop in Accra.  Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI
Dr Ernest Afiesimama (middle), Regional Programme Manager, World Meteorological Organisation, interacting with some participants in the workshop in Accra. Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI

Africa must invest in early climate warning systems — WMO

Africa must invest in early warning systems that will provide information to enable people to cope with extreme weather and climate change effects on the continent, the Regional Programme Manager of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), Dr Ernest Afiesimama, has said. 

He said the continent was already experiencing extreme effects of climate change such as flooding and droughts which were affecting the socio-economic conditions of the people.

The manager added that in the coming years, the effects of climate change would be felt more severely in Africa, given the high exposure, fragility and low capacity of the people.

Dr Afiesimama was speaking at a workshop to review the annual state of climate (SoC) report for Africa in Accra last Tuesday.

The report is a flagship climate product generated under the leadership of the Africa Union Commission and the World Meteorological Organisation, with technical support from the African centre of meteorological applications for development and other regional climate centres in Africa.

The three-day workshop is being participated in by climate experts who are reviewing the report and exploring additional products to fine-tune it to provide information on African climate variability, trends and impact with optimal climate actions to support the continent’s negotiation positions on mitigation, adaptation and most recently losses and damages.

Coverage

Dr Afiesimama, who presented the report, further said that approximately 60 per cent of people lacked coverage of early warning systems which made it impossible for them to take early mitigation actions to protect life and property.

For instance, the report indicated that in the past 50 years, drought-related hazards claimed the lives of more than half a million people and economic losses of over $70 billion.

Drought in Southern Africa in 2015 also led to up to two per cent reduction in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in some countries, with hydropower generation capacity lacking water to operate.

He added that floods across the continent due to heavy rainfall and cyclones led to billions of dollars in losses and damages, as well as millions of people being affected, saying “here in Ghana, we see flooding.

The last report indicated severe flooding in many parts of the country”.

“So this is the message to all governments; we need to begin to do things differently to avoid these climate threats.

In this workshop, we expect experts to come up with how we can do things differently,” the manager said.

Disasters

The Board Chairman of the Ghana Metrological Agency, Isaac Amoo, said the country had been experiencing its share of climate change disasters from flooding and tidal waves, among others.

“While we are suffering from tidal waves, our African neighbouring countries who are in the Sahara regions are experiencing drought, which is increasing the acreage of desertification”, he said.

Mr Amoo expressed hope that the experts would share knowledge, experiences and also devise strategies that would benefit the continent.

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