News / Africa

Central Africa Debates Creation of Climate Monitoring Centers

Ntaryike Divine Jr.
Unpredictable and deadly:  that’s been the weather in Central Africa so far this year.
 
The erratic start of the rainy season and a fear of drought have led farmers in northern Cameroon to plant their crops several times.  Eastwards across the border in neighboring Chad, floods swept away numerous homes and worsened a cholera outbreak.
 
Experts say the absence of early warning systems increases the effects of climate fluctuation on the poor.   
 
Meteorologists and disaster management experts are urging governments to endorse the construction of climate observatories across Central Africa.  The recommendation was announced at a recent forum held in the Cameroonian capital, Yaoundé, in late September.
 
Andre Kamga is with the African Center of Meteorological Applications for Development, AMCAD, based in Niger. He said setting up the climate monitors is a matter of urgency, considering the increasingly unpredictable changes in climate.
 
"What we are planning to do is to have sub-regional climate centers that will take care of early warnings – a season in advance, a week in advance, a few days in advance and a few minutes before flooding events and other disasters," he said. 
 
There are few statistics on the social and economic effects of weather-related problems for Central Africa.  But figures obtained from Cameroon’s National Meteorological Service indicate that 19 major natural disasters killed over 295,000 people around the world in 2010 with material losses evaluated at more than US$ 130 billion. 
 
Kamga said the centers would not only collect and assess climate data and other information for up-to-date forecasts­ that would help policy makers make better decisions.
 
"What hampers policy awareness [and the ability to] work towards reducing disasters is the fact that in many countries, when a flooding occurs, there is no estimate of its cost [which would help] policymakers take the right decisions.," he said. "These climate centers will have as mandate to assess post-disaster impacts."
 
Representatives from the governments of Gabon and Cameroon at the Yaoundé meeting pledged to back the creation of the centers.   But a time frame for the construction has not been mentioned.
 
Many people in Cameroon are growing frustrated – both with the unpredictable weather patterns, and the reaction to it by politicians and scientists.

But meteorologist Andre Kamga remains hopeful. He said initial steps have been proposed.
 
"One," he said, "is the (eventual) establishment of a mailing platform on the Web to exchange information between experts on climate and disaster risks in the sub-region.  The platform would be run by ACMAD in collaboration with national meteorological offices. The second step is the strengthening of the process of establishing a climate center for Central Africa."
 
Meantime, the African Center of Meteorological Applications for Development has issued its fifth regional climate outlook for Central Africa.  The document, based on a consensus of experts, warns that coastal zones from Cameroon to the DRC are likely to witness above-normal rainfall this year.  The center says such knowledge can help decision makers adjust their policies.
 
They could make preparations for the flooding that accompanies torrential rains.  They could also remind farmers to wait until the heaviest period of rainfall is tapering off before planting their seeds or suggest that farmers plant their crops twice.
 
They say those suggestions would be an improvement over the situation as it is today, where weather catches farmers by surprise and unprepared.

Listen to report on climate change centers for Central Africa
Listen to report on climate change centers for Central Africai
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Secret Service Head: White House Security Lapse 'Unacceptable'

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid