Sierra Leone has been ranked as the third most vulnerable nation after Bangladesh and Guinea Bissau to adverse effects of climate change.

The vulnerable population has low capacity to adapt to climate change and the rural populations will be the most affected because of their high dependence on rain-fed agriculture and natural resource-based livelihoods.

 According to the science of climate change, these impacts are likely to continue to affect Sierra Leone in the future, despite the country being least responsible for the problem since Sierra Leone’s contribution to global emissions of greenhouse gases is negligible.

On 14 August 2017,a mudslide  killed more than 1,000 people in the mountainous town of Regent on the outskirts of Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown  sweeping away homes and leaving residents desperate for news of missing family members.

The mudslide occurred after three days of torrential rain. It was estimated that at least 600 people remained missing.

 The government had earlier put the death toll for the August. 14 mudslide at 450 dead, while rescuers and aid groups warned that many of the more than 600 people missing would likely not survive. Military personnel were deployed to help rescue those still trapped under the wreckage.

Tony Redmond, University of Manchester wrote “Another day, another disaster. The vulnerability of Sierra Leone makes any reference to “natural” disasters at best ironic, and at worst insulting. Poverty is not “natural”, and the overcrowding into poor housing that it causes is not “natural.”

 Even the extreme climatic and environmental conditions that precipitated the recent devastating mudslide on the outskirts of Freetown, are a function of man’s unnatural relationship with nature.”

Freetown was buried under a mudslide and heavy flooding.

The catastrophe followed hours of heavy rain. Witnesses described a particularly hard hit area in Regent, saying roads became “churning rivers of mud.”

At least 2,000 people had been left homeless as a result of the disaster.

 Relatives dug through the mud in search of their loved ones while military personnel were deployed to boost the rescue operation.

The deadly landslide in Freetown, Sierra Leone on Monday morning was undoubtedly partly the result of deforestation.

During the rainy season, Sierra Leone is one of the wettest places on earth statistically.

And from that point of view, it is a surprise that such disasters don’t happen more often. It looks as though the changing climate might make future risk even greater as more frequent and more violent rainy season events such as this are a measurable consequence.

In tropical Africa, much of the seasonal rain comes from thunderstorms and often  cluster together, creating mesoscale convective systems (MCS).

In simple terms, these are arcs of giant thunderstorms that can cover half a country. African thunderstorms are among the most intense on earth.

The number of these storms has increased in sub-Saharan Africa by a factor of three since 1982.

The Sahara Desert has heated up as predicted with a warming globe but the edge of the desert, the Sahel, during the wet season, has not.

As a result, the temperature gradient from desert to tropics is now steeper. Its differences in temperature that cause weather: they create a reason for air to move.

Mudslides, flash floods, changing rainfall patterns with terrible impact on farmers resulting in poor food production is already here.

 According to analyses done in 2012 for the development of Sierra Leone’s Second National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, climate change will lead to severe consequences in Sierra Leone including decreased agricultural productivity, degradation of the coastline and damage to coastal structures, a shift from tropical rain forest to dry forest, food and nutrition insecurity, water stress and severe economic impact that will undermine decades of development gains.

Sierra Leone has developed many adaptation projects to address adverse effects of climate change based on existing coping mechanisms and practices such as Develop and enact appropriate policies and regulations relevant to the development of coastal communities, urban growth planning, and critical coastal ecosystems preservation and the establishment of a National Sea- Level Observation System for Sierra Leone.

Climate Change is known to have adversely affected the environment, Agriculture, Food Security, and even the lives and livelihood of large communities. Fishermen are known to have lost their lives in storms and passenger boats have encountered weather-related accidents  even though some go unreported Flooding is known to have affected agriculture and habitats of people in Sierra Leone and their suffering aggravated by  attendant health problems of water-borne diseases (typhoid, dysentery, cholera and diarrhea) due to lack of safe drinking water.

Sierra Leone is particularly vulnerable to the increasing frequency and severity of droughts, floods and severe storms (hail, thunder, lightning and violent winds) with lasting negative impact on sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, water resources, as well as infrastructure and hydro-electric power production.

Such climate-related hazards have increasingly adverse effects on the country and future climate change is likely to further worsen the situation.

Sierra Leone is particularly exposed to the impact of rainfall variability and the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events including heat waves and heavy precipitation events.

 Heavy rainfall following dry spells often results in extensive flooding throughout the country. The effects of these unusual temperature and rainfall patterns on agriculture, water supply and sanitation are evident in various parts of Sierra Leone. The risks on food security of strictly rain-fed rice cultivation cannot be overlooked.

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