News / Africa

Indigenous People Vulnerable to Climate Change

Joe DeCapua

Researchers say indigenous people are among the most vulnerable to climate change. They’re studying how extreme weather events can trigger more disease outbreaks.

Scientists say extreme weather events have accompanied a rise in global temperatures. Droughts, heavy rains and floods have put indigenous people around the world at risk.

“I would say that indigenous people are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts because of their close relationship with the local environment and ecosystems and also their dependence on those local ecosystems for their livelihood, as well as a lot of complex and interrelated social issues and inequities and inequalities,” said Sherilee Harper, who’s a Ph.D candidate in aboriginal people’s health at the University of Guelph near Toronto, Canada. She’s been studying the effects of climate change on the Batwa people in southwest Uganda.

“So for instance, after a period of heavy rainfall or flooding there’s often increased in bacteria and pathogens in the water due to runoff and things like that. That can increase a risk of exposure to waterborne disease. Now, climate change scenarios are predicting we’re going to see more of these periods of heavy rainfall more frequently, longer duration and more intense instances. So we’re expecting that’ll increase the prevalence and risk of exposure to waterborne disease,” she said.

One of those diseases is diarrhea, which health officials estimate kills about one million young children every year.

“The World Health Organization is predicting that most of the climate-related health burden is going to be due to diarrheal disease and malnutrition. And both of those are water issues. So that’s why we started studying the topic,” said Harper.

Need to know more

The Uganda project is part of what’s called the Indigenous Health Adaptation to Climate Change Project. It studies the effects of rising temperatures in Uganda, Canada and Peru.

Harper said, “Health of indigenous people is generally an under-researched area. So often times, the quality of health data that we have on indigenous populations is not of as high a quality and it’s not as long-term data sets compared to non-indigenous communities in the same country.”

The Batwa people helped in the preliminary research. They were given digital cameras and taught how to use them. The Batwa then took pictures of how their environment has been affected by climate change and discussed their findings with researchers. They reported increased periods of heavy rainfall and warmer temperatures throughout the year.

One of the ideas being considered to help the Batwa is to set up a community radio station broadcasting in the local language. Topics would include health, weather conditions, etc. The Batwa have been described as “conservation refugees.” The Ugandan government relocated them from their forest homeland to make a national park to protect silverback gorillas.

The Indigenous Health Adaptation to Climate Change Project is in its initial data-gathering stage. That will last several years. Phase two will consist of using that data to form action plans to protect indigenous people and their water supplies.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid