UN Envoy Assessing Climate Risks in Madagascar

Soukaina Sghir
Soukaina Sghir
2 Min Read
Climate

Madagascar is a country that is already dealing with the effects of climate change. Unfortunately, it is now facing the possibility of another strong El Niño event in the upcoming months. Reena Ghelani was recently appointed as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for El Niño Response and Climate Crisis. Just fifteen days into her position, she chose Madagascar for her first field visit to assess the situation.

Introducing herself to the women of the small village of Sampona gathered under the kabary tree, Reena Ghelani explained the purpose of her visit, stating, “I am here to understand what the government is doing, but also to learn from you—understand the challenges you face and how we can assist.”

Amidst the audience, Nasolo, nursing her baby, passionately recounted the environmental peril surrounding the village, lamenting the severe consequences of drought and excessive wind, resulting in barren lands and failed crops, leading to widespread suffering.

To mitigate both current and anticipated impacts, humanitarian agencies have already initiated various preemptive measures. These include the distribution of more resilient seeds, drilling for water, and cash assistance. Ghelani emphasized the importance of early and swift action, anticipating the imminent triggering of alert systems. Acting promptly, she stressed, would safeguard livelihoods and save lives, and at a significantly lower cost.

The effects of El Niño, manifested in floods and droughts, are already reverberating across the globe, with thirty-five countries deemed at high risk. For Madagascar, this year is poised to bring elevated temperatures and reduced precipitation in the Grand Sud region. The visit by the UN envoy underscores the urgency of addressing climate-related challenges and the critical need for coordinated efforts to alleviate the impact on vulnerable communities.

Soukaina Sghir

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