Paris. –A string of deadly storms pummelled Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique with more intense rainfall because of climate change, new research found on Monday.
Three tropical cyclones and two tropical storms hit Southeast Africa in just six weeks in the first months of this year, causing widespread flooding.
More than a million people were affected and at least 230 people died.
The analysis was carried out by the World Weather Attribution (WWA) network of scientists, which has pioneered ways to speedily link extreme weather events to climate change.
They said that it was climate change that had made the heavy rains brought by the back-to-back storms both heavier and more likely.
“Again we are seeing how the people with the least responsibility for climate change are bearing the brunt of the impacts,” said WWA co-founder Friederike Otto, of the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London.
After Tropical Storm Ana smashed into the region in January, Tropical Cyclone Batsirai hit Madagascar in early February, followed in quick succession by Tropical Storm Dumako and Tropical Cyclones Emnati and Gombe.
WWA scientists used weather observations and computer simulations to compare rainfall patterns under today’s climate to that of the pre-industrial area, before global warming.
They focused on two of the wettest periods — during storm Ana in Malawi and Mozambique and during cyclone Batsirai in Madagascar.
“In both cases, the results show that rainfall associated with the storms was made more intense by climate change and that episodes of extreme rainfall such as these have become more frequent,” WWA said in a report of their findings.
That tallies with overall climate research showing that global warming can increase the frequency and intensity of rainfall.
But the scientists were not able to determine exactly how much climate change influenced the extreme events because of a shortage of high quality historical rainfall records for the region.
This is a particular concern in poorer nations, which are also especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. – AFP
*Zim Teenager Goes Missing From Botswana Police Custody*
A ZIMBABWEAN teenage girl who was placed at a “safe centre” by Botswana police after her mother was arrested for illegal entry into the country reportedly disappeared from custody.
Reports from Botswana suggest that Natalie Gurumani (13) went missing from police custody on March 15.
Her mother, Charity Gurumani, did not find her at the centre when she went to fetch her after she was released.
Gurumani, who returned to Botswana legally on March 13 to look for her child, is now appealing for information on her whereabouts from the public.
It is alleged that Natalie was taken away from Gurumani’s aunt, Janet Kabelo, by Botswana police after her mother had gone job-hunting.
“It later turned out that Gurumani was arrested by the police and deported back to her home country, Zimbabwe, for unlawfully remaining in Botswana. While Gurumani was still sorting out her passport in Zimbabwe, social workers and the police took her daughter from Kabelo to place her in a secret safe shelter,” media reports from Botswana said.
When she returned a month later, the girl was missing, and Gurumani was instead charged with child negligence and detained.
It is alleged that the social workers who took the child away had a court order.
Officer Commanding N03, Theriso Thatayotlhe confirmed to Botswana media that Natalie was missing and the case was reported at Tlokweng Police Station. _*NewsDay*_