The pattern of climate change is more visible than ever

While some Eastern African countries are battling drought, Uganda is battling heavy rains. Just yesterday, landslides triggered by heavy rains in eastern Uganda killed at least five people and left more than 50 people missing. 

According to a statement from the office of Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda on Wednesday “there are reports of displacement and destruction of property as well as missing persons” in the country’s mountainous Bududa district.

Three serious landslides occurred in the Bududa district that borders Kenya after an onslaught of rain began on Tuesday night and the age of the five people confirmed dead ranges from 4 to 73 years old, the Red Cross said in a statement.

This landslide is not the first of its kind in Uganda, neither is it the first in the Bududa district. Bududa district, which lies on the border between Uganda and Kenya, is a high-risk area for landslides. In 2010, at least 100 people were killed and 94 bodies were found after a landslide occurred in the district of Bududa caused by heavy rains that lasted for seven hours.

Climate change has been a recurring topic of discussion globally and the effects are impacting countries differently. Africa is the most vulnerable continent to climate change, prone to a wide variety of natural disasters including droughts, floods and tropical cyclones. More recently, Eastern Africa has been hit by extreme weather conditions.

In the past two months, Nigeria has experienced heat waves. Mozambique battled climate change and then witnessed one of its deadliest cyclones, Somalia is battling drought and now mudslides in Uganda.

Peter Johnston, a climate scientist at the University of Cape Town’s Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG) told DW that it was impossible to look at individual weather events and attribute them to climate change, however, a pattern was emerging.

“The fact that we are getting a warmer planet and that’s impacting on the climate, we fully expect to have more extremes. That’s a signal of climate change but we can’t say that this or that extreme is due to climate change. The increased frequency of these extreme weather patterns is, however, the result of climate change,” said Johnston.