Life at 50°C: Africa

How climate change is crippling Nigeria and Mauritania

Life at 50°C: Africa Climate change has had a devastating impact in Africa. As temperatures rise - fertile lands are becoming deserts, forcing communities to leave their ancestral homes, while other regions are hit by flooding and sand storms.
In central Nigeria, rising temperatures are leading to desertification. 'The weather now changes every year. March was very hot', explains Farouk, who digs wells. He and his team had to dig 27 feet in sweltering conditions to reach water. Meanwhile, in the Niger Delta, natural gas released through oil extraction is burnt illegally, creating a flare so hot, tapioca farmer Joy can dry her produce in a matter of hours. But she and her family want the flares stopped: 'the non-stop flares create conditions for heatwaves', says Joy. In the South, Nigerians face flash flooding and torrential rain. 'When I was a kid, the weather was not like this ... I think that life is coming to an end', explains one woman from the South. In Mauritania, climate change is forcing families apart as men must leave to search for work. 'The climate has changed in the last decade. It's got a lot hotter', explains Mauritanian goat herder Mohammed. 'It's why we don't have enough food for our livestock'. He is among many Mauritanians who have had to embark on a twenty-hour, open-air journey via freight train in search of more hospitable working conditions.

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