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President Ruto Warns of “Disastrous Turn” in Eastern Africa as Climate Extremes Grip the Region

During an impactful speech at the international climate talks (COP28) in Dubai, President William Ruto of Kenya delivered a strong cautionary message about the emerging environmental crisis in Eastern Africa. 

Emphasizing the rapid transition from a severe drought to devastating floods, President Ruto firmly linked these extreme weather events to the influence of human-induced climate change.

The region, comprising Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia, has experienced the most severe drought in over 40 years, followed by devastating floods that claimed over 200 lives and displaced tens of thousands of people. 

The United Nations had previously labeled the preceding drought as the “worst in the past 40 years,” emphasizing the severity of the situation.

“Scientific evidence clearly and strongly links these extreme weather events to human-induced climate change,” President Ruto stated during his speech. “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.”

President Ruto underscored the disproportionate impact of climate change on the region, urging swift and inclusive action to address the imbalance. 

He called for global cooperation, emphasizing the shared responsibility to combat climate change and mitigate its consequences.

“Kenya has been besieged by relentless torrents that have claimed lives and displaced countless communities. We are already living in this dire reality,” President Ruto stated, urging the global community, particularly developed nations, to fulfill their pledges and contribute millions of dollars to help mitigate the climate crisis.

Developing countries, including Kenya, are appealing for urgent support as they grapple with the adverse effects of climate change. 

President Ruto highlighted Africa’s contribution to the global crisis, producing less than 3 percent of greenhouse gases but bearing a disproportionate burden.

As the international community grapples with the urgent need for action, President Ruto’s impassioned plea at COP28 serves as a call to arms, urging nations to prioritize climate resilience and fulfill their commitments to safeguard the future of vulnerable regions facing the brunt of climate change.

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