Climate Change And Natural Disasters In Africa; Case Study Of Rwanda
Nibagwire, Nishimwe Clarisse
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Different theories emphasize the role climate change plays in the actual abnormal occurrence of climate related natural disasters. This is a stressful issue for researchers, Scientifics and politicians due to inevitable loss and the impact both climate change and natural disasters exert on the ecosystem. And the resulting consequences are harmful to the health and well-being of the human beings since they touch all the spheres. Therefore, by following these theories, climate change and natural disasters would be qualified as barriers to the development and well–being of human beings, especially in developing countries, since they are the ones that are more vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters due to lack of means of resilience to the latter’s harmfulness. From the above, two important points arise. Firstly, how climate change impacts occurrence of natural disasters in developing countries. And secondly, the rate at which climate change has driven the abnormal occurrence of climate related natural disasters. To answer these two points with relevant scientific evidences, one developing country, Rwanda, was taken as a case study, with the main objective of evaluating how climate change events correlate with the occurrence of these disasters. Historical records of climate related natural disasters that occurred in Rwanda, and records of temperature and precipitation were used as the parameters used to achieve the main objective of this study. Then, calculations were processed to evaluate the level of correlation between the temperature trend and climate related natural disasters trend. Based on the obtained results, climate change in Rwanda is not negligible since the temperature increases at different consulted meteorological stations were varying from 0.48 degree Celsius to 1.99 degree Celsius over a period of 39 to 45 years. And this is higher than the global temperature increase of 0.85 degree Celsius over the past period of 132 years. The result of the analysis also indicates much fluctuation in precipitations as a result of weather disturbances. The occurrence of climate related natural disasters has increased by 31% over the last 41 years. More precisely, the rise in temperature has influenced the occurrence of climate related natural disasters, but the identified influence is of low level. On the other hand, other factors, such as: fast growing population, geomorphological structure of the Rwandan soil mostly dominated by high elevated surface and poor cultivation practices, have increased the risk of vulnerability to climate related natural disasters. Therefore, they have boosted the abnormal occurrence of the stated disastrous events.