Climate change a ''mega disaster'', warns UN

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London, Oct 5 (UNI) The United Nations has warned that a record number of floods, droughts and storms around the world this year amount to a climate change ''mega disaster.'' A British diplomat and the UN's Under-Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs Sir John Holmes said dire predictions about the impact of global warming on humanity were already coming true.

''We are seeing the effects of climate change. Any year can be a freak but the pattern looks pretty clear to be honest.

That's why we're trying ... to say, of course you've got to deal with mitigation of emissions, but this is here and now, this is with us already,'' Sir John was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

Two years ago only half the international disasters dealt with by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs had anything to do with the climate. However, this year all but one of the 13 emergency appeals is climate-related.

The problem arose after an unprecedented string of catastrophic floods across much of Africa, South Asia and North Korea followed by severe drought in Southern Africa.

India was badly affected by floods that hit the rest of the Asian region in July. But unlike its neighbour, Pakistan, India did not call on the UN for help.

As many as 66 million people were made homeless or were otherwise affected across south Asia. The lives of several million more people were affected across Africa.

''The flooding in Africa just now is the worst anyone can remember,'' Sir John said, expressing frustration at how little media attention in the west was being devoted to what he terms creeping climatic catastrophe.

Flooding is likely to be common for a warming planet, and climate change has a double effect -- causing an increase in the frequency of storms, while higher atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide curb the ability of plants to draw groundwater.

UNI

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