The United Nations (UN) has said the world has passed the stage of possibility of climate emergency but at a point of living through it. The global body made the declaration in a statement it issued on August 18 to mark the World Humanitarian Day (WHD), a day that honours humanitarian aid workers all over the world.
In the statement the UN said: “This year’s WHD theme is climate change, and the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) is taking this opportunity to remind everyone in Nigeria that we are no longer talking about the possibility of a climate emergency, we are now living through it.”
The statement stated that last year, like every year, humanitarian organisations and workers helped people affected by extreme weather-related events. In West and Central Africa, climate change effects are felt in rising temperatures, droughts and floods that are affecting people’s livelihood, shelter and physical and mental well-being.
The statement quoted the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Edward Kallon, to have said: “The climate emergency is a race that we cannot afford to lose.”
He lamented that: “Extreme stress, property loss and food/water scarcity contribute to community conflict over resources leading to increased incidences of community tensions and farmer-herder violence in the North-east region.”
He noted that Nigeria has experienced the highest number of fatalities from conflicts between farmers and herders concentrated in the northwestern, Middle Belt, and more recently in the southern states.
The statement added that climate hazards especially affect women and girls, who often bear a disproportionate burden to provide for their families by going without food and other means of sustenance, India that as droughts make water even more scarce, women and girls are forced to walk longer distances to obtain potable water, increasing their exposure to sexual harassment and assault as they travel to bring back these essentials.