As the world this year hits Earth Overshoot Day earlier than ever before, UKYCC has started to record events of extreme weather occurring as part of a changing climate that are causing ‘climate violence’ to those communities most affected.
Number 1 – 14th August 2017 – Sierra Leone
The mudslide in the capital of Sierra Leone this week was the result of intense rainfall hitting a hillside where soils were already destabilised by deforestation, in a deprived area of informal settlements with inadequate housing. Hundreds of people have been reported dead or injured and thousands left homeless, with numbers likely to rise not only from the mudslide itself, but also due to waterborne diseases associated with flooding.
This deadly combination- extreme weather, degradation of the local environment and a community left vulnerable with poor infrastructure- is seen again and again each time a natural disaster strikes. Often, as in Sierra Leone, governments are warned of the dangers years earlier, yet fail to act until it is too late. These disasters will only get worse until climate justice is taken seriously, and meaningful action is taken to help vulnerable communities to adapt.
This event is further proof that serious climate adaptation measures are needed today as much as commitments and action to reduce future carbon emissions and environmentally destructive practices.