The deadliest storm struck the city of Durban in South Africa last month and had a death toll of over 443 people. These types of storms are twice as likely to happen in April as a direct effect of climate change, and conditions could get worse.
This information comes straight out of the latest report from the World Weather Attribution. During the event, a total of 350mm (1.14 feet) of rain was dropped in a two-day period. This quickly flooded the region as it was not prepared for such sudden rainfall.
One of the major shortcomings of this event was a failure of a warning system. While warnings were issued, many inside of the region never actually heard them, which is a big reason the death toll was so high.
As climate change continues to amplify the frequency and strength of storms, weather warning systems are more important than ever.
The Storms in South Africa Have An Impact on the World
One of the biggest problems of raising climate change awareness is that many people just don’t see the effects themselves.
In this case, it had an actual impact on the supply chains. For those unaware, the Port of Durban is Africa’s largest port. This is where crops and minerals gathered throughout the continent are brought and distributed around the world.
This port was severely damaged. Not only affecting the equipment and vehicles used to move containers, but also the goods themselves. While the estimated bill of the damages was $1.57 billion, the port was the biggest factor.
What’s left out of that estimate is the impact of those goods arriving late and the knock-on effect it has on the entire supply chain. This also comes at a time when supply chains are at their limits due to worldwide shortages.
Thus, this storm that occurred here was felt throughout the world. And other ports around the globe could face similar situations.
An early warning system won’t just save lives but will help ensure uninterrupted trade.
A Global Early Warning System For Extreme Weather Is In Development
In March 2022, the UN unveiled plans to roll out an early warning system on a global scale in response to an increase in extreme weather.
During the announcement, Secretary-General António Guterres stated that “Half of humanity is already in the danger zone.” He later went on to highlight that despite this, one-third of those people do not have access to early warning systems.
And as you might have guessed, Africa is one of the most vulnerable areas without access to this simple technology.
These systems have a proven track record of saving lives and helping communities brace for the impact of extreme weather. This can help lower the overall damage a storm does, which lowers the cost to repair the affected region.
In all honesty, it’s really surprising that such a system has taken so long to long to implement. Though, it’s better late than never. Let’s just hope it’s accessible.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.