The impact of climate change on the lives of villagers
A hot continent by nature, Africa is one of the regions of the world most vulnerable to climate change. Admittedly, most of the media agree on the future consequences of global warming. However, very few of them are aware that certain areas are already suffering from its harmful effects. This is the case of several rural areas, especially African villages. In this article, we zoom in on three of the main impacts of climate change on the lives of villagers .
Worsening problems of drought and famine among villagers
If there is one thing that large metropolises can envy to villages, it is their natural capital, namely:
- wild nature;
- Forests ;
- Sublime lands and landscapes;
- Spring water, etc.
Unfortunately, the climatic variations noted in recent years are modifying the habitat and making it difficult to manage these resources. Worse still, they exert additional pressure on the natural resources available in these rural areas. As a result, these living spaces which already had serious food-related problems are seeing their situations worsen.
It is important to know that ¾ of the inhabitants of rural areas live thanks to the natural resources located nearby. In fact, the increase in the problems of access to water and food resources risks considerably increasing the problems of famine. The same applies to the social consequences linked to famines, such as insecurity, ethnic conflicts, deforestation, overgrazing, etc.
Climate change accentuates health problems in villages
In recent years, epidemiological outbreaks have been identified all over the world. Regions of the world that are remote or characterized by poor access to health resources are the most affected.
Isn’t there a link between the resurgence of these phenomena and global warming?
For the moment, there is no formal proof on the subject. However, climatologists insist that climate change exacerbates extreme weather events. Indeed, studies have already proven that natural disasters are often a trigger for health crises, especially if they affect fragile environments.
Here are some glaring illustrations:
- The increase in temperature, precipitation and humidity creates ideal conditions for the development and spread of disease-carrying insects (malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, Zika, etc.);
- High temperatures cause rapid dehydration, hypothermia and even death among vulnerable populations or living in precarious housing;
- The aggravation of air, water and soil pollution problems which are at the origin of a battery of health problems (contaminated watercourses and soil erosions which infest food and promote diseases such as cholera…)
The health disaster experienced by several rural areas of Haiti after the devastating hurricane of October 6, 2016 is a tangible example.
If, therefore, climate change induces natural disasters, the health situation of rural areas affected by it is not likely to improve.
Climate change threatens rural children’s education
Drought, poverty, malnutrition and environmental degradation do not only have negative consequences on health and food.
The problem of drought is particularly thorny, because the rainy seasons have been much shorter in recent years. The situation is quite different for the dry seasons, which are longer and more intense.
Due to lack of water, children are forced to travel more kilometers to reach water sources. These dry up more quickly, making the situation even more complex. These are all constraints that explain dropouts, school dropouts and the difficulties of learners to succeed in school.
Indeed, drops in school attendance and levels of concentration are observed when a natural disaster occurs. It makes sense for families facing crop failures, for example, to harness the strength of their children to survive rather than send them to school.
But that’s not all :
- A malnourished child due to climate change is prone to the problem of stunting which negatively affects his cognitive faculties;
- A schoolchild will find it more difficult to get to school if the weather conditions become more and more extreme;
- A decrease in the financial resources of families reduces their ability to finance the education of their children, which continues to increase…
It should also be noted that climate change makes existing school infrastructures unsuitable for learning, even those that are best built. This is because they were designed taking into account certain meteorological factors specific to the village and which are no longer relevant. This results in a decrease in the quality of the education offered, health problems, etc.
Servya helps rural inhabitants affected by climate change
The Servya association has initiated and implements several projects in villages. Actions that help limit the impacts of climate change include:
- Drilling boreholes to make drinking water accessible to all;
- Sponsorship of children which reduces the dropout rate;
- The distribution of foodstuffs periodically;
- The planting of fruit trees not only to promote healthier food, but also to absorb the drought in the long term.
Without a doubt, one of the biggest challenges today is climate change. Rural areas are affected in different ways. Only its management, in a proactive way by resorting to the solutions already present on the spot, can prevent its effects from becoming irreversible and catastrophic.