Tropical Storm Ana Displaces Thousands Across Southern Africa

Tropical Storm Ana displaces 300,000

Last week, Tropical Storm Ana swept across parts of Mozambique, Malawi, and Madagascar, killing over 80 and injuring tens of thousands of people. Vital infrastructure -- including roads and bridges -- was demolished, leaving much of the region inaccessible. Malawi declared a state of emergency, as the storm's deadly floods destroyed a major hydropower plant, leaving much of the country without power.

This is yet another reminder that the countries bearing the brunt of the climate crisis are not the ones responsible for the bulk of the world’s emissions. As Madagascar's President Andry Nirina Rajoelina told the UN General Assembly last year, "my compatriots in the south are bearing the weight of climate change which they did not participate in creating."

Telegraph: Tropical Storm Ana wreaks havoc across southern Africa, January 28, 2022.

Why This Matters

Tropical Storm Ana is not the first climate change-fueled disaster to hit the region in recent years -- in late 2019 and early 2020, a series of cyclones and a locust plague devastated East Africa's farmlands, while Madagascar has been locked in a brutal drought. And now, Ana has taken out much of the recently rebuilt infrastructure, leaving many communities back at square one. Additionally, another tropical storm is on the horizon -- Tropical Storm Batsirai has formed in the Indian Ocean and is currently moving towards the same region.

Responding to Climate Displacement

Prolonged drought alongside the storm's heavy rainfall -- both of which are related to climate change -- was a recipe for humanitarian disaster. Currently, the number of displaced people is estimated at more than 300,000. With much of the region’s health infrastructure left in ruins, governments are calling for aid. Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera has called on "the international donor community, relevant United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, the local private sector, [and] fellow citizens of goodwill" to step up and provide assistance.

Given other humanitarian crises around the world, such as those in Sub Saharan Africa and Afghanistan, and that the number of climate refugees estimated to reach 216 million by 2050 -- the world's high-emitting countries must commit to long-term action.

Robin Hood: "This is Loss and Damage - Who Pays" narrated by Mark Strong, September 23, 2021.