On Wednesday the World Bank released a report warning that the Middle East and North Africa will be the regions most affected by climate change. Rainfall will be a lot less, while temperatures and sea level will rise to record levels.
The $50 billion tourism industry is predicted to be hit the hardest, which will affect the food security even more. This will be particularly the case of the Gulf states, where the population relies mainly on food import.
The report presented at the United Nations climate negotiations in Doha, Qatar also indicates that the agriculture will be severely affected with increasing crop failures and lower yields, which consequently will have a strong effect on the population.
According to the latest IPCC report, temperatures have risen with 0.8 degrees C. As Inger Andersen, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North African region stated, Arab people consider climate change as a reality. He pointed out that as climate becomes more extreme, poor people would suffer the most. He urged actions to be taken at regional and national level.
Water shortage is one of the major problems of the Middle East and North Africa. With climate change the severity of droughts will become worse, especially given that the region is already has the lowest amount of fresh water in the world. The water runoff is predicted to decline with 10% by 2050, while the demand is expected to increase with 60% by 2045.
The report sent a message to the world that everyone should start preparing for the rising temperatures. Countries, especially these in the Middle East and North Africa where the temperatures are already reaching as high as 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) should ensure that their policies are directed towards dealing and coping with extreme conditions.
In addition, governments should focus on improving health, sanitation and educational services. Additional training schemes should be developed to help people cope with climate challenges. Infrastructure should also be improved with improved drainage systems and measures against flooding and sea level rise.
Disasters due to climate have affected more than 50 million people in the Arab world for the past 30 years. The report referred to figures from various North African and Middle Eastern countries, where the damages add up to $12 billion.