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Tanzania Seeing the Impacts of Climate Change by City Tech Blogger Dieudonne Nduhira

Climate change has affected the Eastern Africa region including Tanzania where seasons have been changing every four years with an unusual transformation of the nature like never before. Katavi province, mostly dependent on agriculture and livestock never had to fear about the future of their land. They did not have to work hard to grow crops and make the land productive. For example; one cassava tree can bear fruit from three to four years after planting  (each fruit could be between five and ten pounds). Tree leaves are used for food as well, especially for strengthening the immune system and to maintain high count of red blood cells alive for all seasons. One cassava could feed a household of ten people. As of now, a cassava tree is planted only once in ten months and bears less fruit, which makes it harder for farmers. This region has been threatened with drought because we don’t get enough rain and when we do it’s much less than usual. It has shifted in the middle of its season which causes the farmers to put their grain on the ground in expectation for when the rain might fall. But the rain could be delayed and by the time it rains, the higher percentage of the baby plants are already dried up. Besides for those that are still alive, the excessive heavy rain will make the ground too watery, unsuitable for those plants. Those that survive, will bring fruits but not enough as expected. The forces farmers to sell their livestock to buy food instead, which is two times as expensive than their livestock. It also causes families to split away from each other because they have to find other means to survive while fighting the famine and waiting for the next rain season.

Furthermore, in the past few years, unusually high temperatures and a brutal El Niño have punished many parts of Africa with drought. Ethiopia, 400 miles to the North of Tanzania is currently experiencing its worst water shortage in 30 years. South Africa just emerged from its worst drought since 1904. October 14, 2016, at least 3,829 livestock died due to the drought that hit Parakuyo Village in Kilosa District, Morogoro province. While in Kilosa District, people witnessed a huge number of dead animals and the others in bad condition due to starvation.

The population of Tanzania’s central region comprising Dodoma, Singida and Tabora, is exposed to a range of serious drought-related diseases, in addition to the nutritional impact of lack of rainfall. Prevalent illnesses include malnutrition, trachoma (a sight-threatening eye infection), dysentry, cholera and diarrhea. New research shows that by 2030, even if the drought frequency and intensity remains stable, 5% of the region’s population will go hungry. In addition, 5% of the population will suffer from trachoma and almost 200,000 children under five from diarrhea. This would be accompanied by many serious cases of cholera and dysentry. A more severe situation caused by climate change will inevitably have a far greater negative impact. The study concluded that a portfolio of prevention and treatment measures could significantly reduce drought-related illness in the future, while effective insurance could protect against crop failure (worldbank). Lack of education on natural disasters, especially climate change, is a major impediment when it comes to help planning preventive measures for future natural disasters which are likely to have terrible consequences in our communities and in the country. Therefore, innovative technology such as sustainability projects would mitigate the climate change and systems technology can help to implement programs that will help educate the community and effectively reduce the impact of climate change in the present, ten years from now, and in the future.




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