Uganda’s readiness for global warming amid closure of schools in South Sudan

By Akansasira Junior Victor

The most recent warning by the UN Secretary-General – Mr Antonio Gutierrez…”The era of global warming has ended and “the era of global boiling has arrived”, after scientists confirmed July was on track to be the world’s hottest month on record.

“Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just the beginning,” “It is still possible to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C [above pre-industrial levels] and avoid the very worst of climate change. But only with dramatic, immediate climate action.” Antonio Added.

Reports on 21st February 2024, Kampala, Uganda by “The IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) released the March to May 2024 seasonal forecast which indicates a higher probability of wetter-than-normal conditions across most parts of the Greater Horn of Africa,” should serve as a compelling wake-up call for all of us who like politicizing every fact. We need to shift the conversation to what needs to happen urgently this year.

At least I have been to South Sudan for over two years. I have felt their climate variations unprecedentedly with too much heat and flooded grounds when it rains cats and dogs. I am a witness of “bathing while sweating” in the showers.

Not so long enough, the same country’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry takes a lightning directive by suspending every education business for a fortnight by MONDAY 18TH MARCH 2024. The scorching temperatures and a prolonged heatwave are at 41°C – 45°C.

READ HERE: Schools ordered to close over extreme heat wave

Additionally, South Sudan’s action follows a serious alarm by Hon. Minister of Health Yolanda Awel Deng to the public for mitigation measures like keeping cool indoors, monitoring signs of heat-related illnesses and most importantly enforcing severe penalties for those who fail to comply with State directives.

Uganda stands as a neighbouring country, taking note of the situation and evaluating its own readiness to combat the effects of global warming. With rising concerns about climate change and its impact on vulnerable populations, Some Ugandan leaders and citizens are trying to take proactive steps to address the issue and protect their communities.

The recent decision by the South Sudanese government to close schools in response to extreme heat serves as a wake-up call for countries in the East African region.

Uganda has been closely monitoring the situation and learning important lessons about the urgent need for awareness and adaptation strategies but there is a need for more action and vigilance by every community leader.

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United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Antonio Guterres, has been vocal about the dangers of global warming and recently issued a warning urging countries to take immediate action, emphasizing the need for governments to prioritize climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts to protect their citizens from the adverse effects of rising temperatures.

Ugandan leaders though they like politicizing everything seriously, have taken the warning to heart and are actively working to develop comprehensive strategies to address global warming. They recognize that extreme weather events, such as heat waves, have dire consequences on public health and well-being.

In response to the extreme heatwave, Ugandan leaders and citizens need to take the following recommendations, a series of measures to minimize the risks and build resilience against future climate-related emergencies.

Increasing public awareness: Efforts should be made to educate the public about the dangers of global warming and the importance of taking preventive measures. This can be achieved through public campaigns, school programs, and community outreach initiatives.

Investments should be made in infrastructure development, particularly in the construction of well-ventilated buildings and the provision of reliable access to clean and safe drinking water. This will ensure that individuals have a safe environment to cope with extreme temperatures.

Implementing adaptive measures: The government should develop comprehensive plans to address the impact of heatwaves, including the establishment of cooling centers, distribution of fans, and provision of medical support to vulnerable populations.

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Promoting sustainable practices: Encouraging the adoption of sustainable practices such as tree planting, waste management, and renewable energy sources will help mitigate the effects of global warming and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

Collaborating with international partners: Uganda should actively engage with international organizations and neighbouring countries to share knowledge and resources, collaborate on climate change research, and develop joint initiatives to address global warming.

By learning from the given warnings, reports and the experiences of neighbouring countries like South Sudan, Uganda needs to proactively address the challenges posed by climate change and build resilience to protect its communities from future climate-related emergencies.

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The writer, Cadre Akansasira Junior Victor is a Global Schools Advocate/ Mentor on SDGs (Climate change Advocate) and the Public Relations Officer of Furaha Training Institute. | Email: vj.akansasira@gmail.com or Tel: 0702969211 / 0785499836


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