Gigantic Dust Storms Threaten Lives in Sudan

Fredrick Ngugi December 16, 2016
A massive sand storm in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo Credit: I Like To Waste My Time

After decades of desertification, the rich biodiversity of Sudan is slowly becoming extinct with many towns, including the capital Khartoum, becoming uninhabitable due to gigantic dust storms that are burying homes, according to CNN. Locally known as “Haboob,” the dust storms move like titanic walls, pushing the rate of evaporation to unmanageable levels and eroding valuable fertile soil.

Analysts are now warning that if nothing is done soon, Sudan and other parts of the Africa could be rendered uninhabitable due to climate change.

Haboob, which are now very common in Sudan, usually occur after several days of rising temperatures and falling pressures. They can transform the landscape in a matter of hours by depositing huge quantities of sand, which subsequently destroy homes and crops.

“North Africa is already hot and is strongly increasing in temperature. At some point in this century, part of the region will become uninhabitable,” a climate scientist from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry Jos Lelieveld said.

Experts also project a tremendous rise in temperature in Sudan in the coming days, with the country’s temperature expected to rise to about 3.1 degrees Celsius by the year 2060.

Threat to Food Security

After years of exceptionally high temperatures and unpredictable rainfall, the once fertile pieces of land in Sudan are increasingly becoming unsuitable for agriculture, exposing majority of the population to severe drought.

Erratic rains are also destroying crops and exposing many parts of the North African country to massive floods, which not only displace hundreds of thousands of families, but also render arable land unsuitable for farming.

Since 70 percent of the Sudanese population relies on conventional rain-fed methods of farming for food, experts now predict a major food security crisis in the country in the near future.

According to Michelle Yonetani, a senior adviser on disasters from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, Sudan is among the most vulnerable countries to climate change largely due to food insecurity. According to the Global Hunger Index, Sudan is ranked 98 out of the 113 countries that are experiencing food insecurity.

Millions of people in Sudan and the larger Sahel region are increasingly facing water shortages and therefore have to deal with already deteriorating sanitation and hygiene conditions.

In the wake of increased desertification in the region, families are now being forced to walk for miles to find water.

“This trend is not unstoppable if important measures are taken,” the head of the World Food Program in Sudan, Marco Cavalcante, noted.

Experts advise that a holistic adaptation and mitigation approach needs to be introduced to farmersand vulnerable groups in the region in order to make a lasting impact on climate change.

Last Edited by:Charles Gichane Updated: June 19, 2018


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