Experts raise alarm over climate change

A photo taken on May 7, 2013 near Saint-Louis, northern Senegal, shows the ruins of houses destroyed by the rise of the sea level due to global warming. The special report on global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels began as a request from the 195 nations that inked the Paris Agreement in 2015. PHOTO | FILE | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Malaria infections will increase and food shortages to become common, says UN report

Global warming could lead to food shortages and expose Kenyans to more diseases, a UN report warns.

In the report released on Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that global warming had changed rainfall patterns and affected the quality and quantity of water.

The experts cautioned that tropical diseases like malaria would increase as mosquitoes move to higher altitudes.

The findings corroborate the findings of the US journal Science released in March.

Kenya is listed among parts of Uganda, Tanzania, Madagascar, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Peru, Ecuador and Papua New Guinea that could face a higher malaria risk.

Researchers however added that other climate and social-economic conditions could also determine malaria cases.

Scientists found out that in warmer years, there were more malaria infections than in cooler years.

The abundance and survival of mosquitoes also depends on rainfall patterns, temperature and humidity. Malaria epidemics can occur when climate and other conditions change, increasing infections especially in areas where people have little or no immunity to malaria.

In many parts of the world, especially in rural areas, malaria parasites have developed resistance to a number of medicines, necessitating more stringent measures to deal with the disease.

Over the past decade, a new group of anti-malaria drugs known as Artemisinin-based combination therapies or ACTs has brought new hope in the fight against the disease.

In Western and Nyanza regions, malaria infections continue to rise. About 92 children under the age of five contract malaria every day.

Director of the International Institute for Environment and Development Camilla Toulmin called for cooperation to deal with the effects of global warming.

“Climate change reminds us that we are all in this together and we can only solve this problem as a united international community,” Dr Toulmin advises.

The director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Prof Corinne Le Quere, warned that climate change threatened food security and world economies.

“The atmosphere and oceans are warming.

“The snow cover is shrinking, the Arctic sea-ice is melting, sea levels are rising and the oceans are acidifying. Ecosystems and natural habitats will be upset,” said Prof Corrinne.