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Cyclone That Hit Mozambique Shows Impact Of Climate Change On Poorest Populations

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In March, Mozambique and several other southern African countries were struck by a tropical cyclone that killed hundreds and displaced thousands more.

For years, scientists have been warning about the global cataclysms that will come with climate change, but it has always been thought of as a problem that will affect future generations.

However, climate change is happening now and its devastating effects are being felt around the world, especially by the most vulnerable communities.

Mozambique A Victim Of Climate Change

Beira, the fourth largest city in Mozambique and home to half a million people, was one of the areas that are hit the hardest by Cyclone Ida. The storm, which brought more than 7 inches of rain and over 100 miles per hour winds, was "90 percent wiped out" and experts are blaming climate change.

"This is one of the poorest places in the world, which is paying the price of climate change provoked mostly, not only but mostly, by the developed world," Graça Machel, a former freedom fighter, politician, and deputy chair of The Elders, told CNN.

March's Cyclone Ida is only the latest extreme weather event experienced by the people of Southern Africa. Between 2015 and 2016, the region went through the strongest El Niño in 50 years, affecting agriculture and food security of millions. In 2018, Cape Town almost became the first city in the world to run out of water.

The extreme weather events that have started devastating parts of the world, especially vulnerable populations, are not at all surprising. A study published in 2018 warned that the poorest communities that live near the equator will be more severely affected by even a tiny rise in the average global surface temperature than countries in higher latitudes.

"The results are a stark example of the inequalities that come with global warming," stated climate researcher Andrew King from the University of Melbourne. "The richest countries that produced the most emissions are the least affected by heat when average temperatures climb to just 2 degrees Celsius [3.6 degrees Fahrenheit] while poorer nations bear the brunt of changing local climates and the consequences that come with them."

The Devastating Effects Of Climate Change

The Government of Mozambique reported that more than 1,000 people might have died from the storm and 600,000 more have been affected in the provinces of Niassa, Tete, and Zambezia. The storm also left 500,000 residents without power and communication.

Meanwhile, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, an estimated 1.6 million people have been affected by Cyclone Ida across Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe.

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