The start of 2020 found Australia in the midst of its worst-ever bushfire season – following on from its hottest year on record which had left soil and fuels exceptionally dry. The fires have burned through more than 10 million hectares, killed at least 28 people, razed entire communities to the ground, taken the homes of thousands of families, and left millions of people affected by a hazardous smoke haze. More than a billion native animals have been killed, and some species and ecosystems may never recover. (Photo: Oxfam)
east africa drought
Higher sea temperatures, linked to climate change, have doubled the likelihood of drought in the Horn of Africa region. Severe droughts in 2011, 2017 and 2019 have repeatedly wiped out crops and livestock. Droughts have left 15 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia in need of aid, yet the aid effort is only 35 percent funded. People have been left without the means to put food on their table, and have been forced from their homes. Millions of people are facing acute food and water shortages.
South Asia flood
Over the last year deadly floods and landslides have forced 12 million people from their homes in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Just 2 years ago exceptionally heavy monsoon rains and intense flooding destroyed, killed, and devastated lives in the same countries. In some places the flooding was the worst for nearly 30 years, a third of Bangladesh was underwater. While some flooding is expected during monsoon season, scientists say the region’s monsoon rains are being intensified by rising sea surface temperatures in South Asia.
Can this be reduced?