LONDON – Climate-induced water insecurity poses one of the biggest threats to humanity and will lead to more hunger, diseases and displacement, according to a report by a UK-based charity on Thursday.
In its report titled Water Dilemmas, Oxfam presented a range of climate scenarios with expected changes in temperature and precipitation by the years 2040 and 2050, warning of the "dire humanitarian cost of increased water scarcity."
The study revealed that climate change in the Middle East, Horn, East and Central Africa (HECA), West Africa, and Asia regions may affect water security, food security, and the spread of diseases.
"Water is the lifeblood of communities across the globe, but climate change means that for many it is an increasingly scarce resource," said Nafkote Dabi, Oxfam global climate justice lead.
The report showed that East Africa might be hit by a cycle of even more intense floods and droughts by 2040 with an 8 percent rise in precipitation leading to a potentially catastrophic 30 percent rise in surface runoff.
"The region could also face a dramatic increase in mosquito-borne diseases, meaning 50-60 million more people in the region could be at risk of malaria by 2030."
Infectious diseases could rise by 183% in Asia
Meanwhile, it predicted that rainfall will decrease markedly in the Middle East by 2040, which would spark worsening food security.
Heat waves are also expected to rise by 16 percent in the region, leading to a drop in labor productivity of 7 percent, with water prices expected to rise sharply.
“Countries across Asia, meanwhile, will be affected more by rising sea levels, potentially over half a meter by 2100,” noted the report, warning of a possible rise in diseases like malaria and dengue by 183 percent.
Citing the UN, it stressed that 2.3 billion people currently do not have access to safe drinking water and a further 3.6 billion people don’t have safe sanitation.
"Global warming is increasing the frequency and severity of disasters, including floods and droughts, which will be hitting countries harder and more often in years to come," Dabi added.
Betty Ojeny, water and sanitation lead of the charity's Africa office, said that climate change is "biting now," stating that these problems are only going to get worse.
"One in five boreholes we dig now ends up dry or with water that is unfit for humans to drink," he added.
The report also highlighted that lack of investment in water systems, poor water management, erosion, pollution and overuse of subterranean aquifers are worsening the ongoing water crisis. (Anadolu)