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Italy mirrors Ethiopia’s climate extremes due to climate change

The “whiplash effect” is being produced by climate change, causing drought-prone regions to flood and moist regions to dry up. According to scientists, it is wreaking havoc on millions of individuals living in destitution.

Climate change is giving rise to “hazard flips”—regions that were previously susceptible to drought are now experiencing inundation, and vice versa.

According to WaterAid research, millions of impoverished individuals are impacted by the “whiplash effect” caused by these erratic extremes.

Challenges Faced by Communities

WaterAid, in collaboration with the universities of Bristol and Cardiff, examined climate data and satellite imagery. The results demonstrate that communities are being confronted with extreme circumstances for which they lack the necessary resources.

Despite the fact that temperatures are rising globally, climate change will not produce identical dangers everywhere, according to co-lead researcher Professor Katerina Michaelides of Bristol University.

She stated that the hazard profile for any given region is prone to fluctuate in unpredictable ways.

Since 2000, the frequency of severe droughts in northern Italy has increased by over twofold. However, catastrophic flooding in May and June this year has interrupted these times.

A winter with little precipitation has revealed a Lake Garda walkway and left Venice with dried waterways.

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Similar climatic patterns have been documented in the southern Ethiopian Shabelle region.

Regions in Northern Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Pakistan were once characterized by aridity and high temperatures. Over the past twenty years, they have experienced a reversal in climate, becoming more prone to flooding.

The study investigated the risks of inundation and drought in six nations—Pakistan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Mozambique—during the previous forty-one years. Italy was incorporated as a comparative European study.

Overall, nations that were previously susceptible to frequent flooding are now more susceptible to frequent droughts. Whereas countries that were historically prone to flooding are now experiencing more frequent droughts.

Professor Michael Singer, co-lead researcher from Cardiff University, cautioned that “the majority of locations on the planet will have to address” these “hazard flips.”

Human Impact and Urgency for Action

Researchers have cautioned that the erratic extremes have “devastating” effects on communities, including the destruction of crops and livelihoods, the disruption of water supply services, the destruction of often-fragile water supply infrastructure, and the exposure of people to disease and mortality.

Tim Wainwright, the chief executive officer of WaterAid, stated, “This is a critical situation that can decide the lives of the most vulnerable individuals in the world. We cannot allow climate change to destroy the destinies of individuals.

“Communities in Pakistan, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Ethiopia are confronted with alarming climate whiplash effects, ranging from flood-ravaged settlements to desertified farmlands; Uganda is enduring increasingly catastrophic flooding; and Mozambique is a tumultuous amalgamation of both extremes.”

While we will all pay for global water stress in the future, those in danger are suffering the most.

According to the data, the eastern region of Mbale in Uganda has exhibited a notable inclination towards significantly more humid conditions for the past three years, as evidenced by unprecedented inundation.

“Total confusion” was the result, according to 70-year-old retired primary school teacher Okecho Opondo, who spoke with WaterAid, regarding the shifting weather patterns.

“Months that were previously wet are currently dry.” A brief but intense downpour may occur, potentially resulting in inundation.

“On certain other occasions, protracted rainy periods result in infrastructure destruction and crop failure.” Additionally, protracted dry periods can result in further agricultural crop failure and subsequent starvation.

According to Kiequer, a 14-year-old from Mozambique, their education was impacted by the inundation.

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