L’Afrique, les changements climatiques et le sommet du G8

Le Premier ministre Tony Blair a déclaré que les deux questions centrales du sommet du G8 de juillet cette année seront la pauvreté en Afrique et les changements climatiques du globe. Ces deux questions peuvent paraître dissociées. En fait, elles sont liées. Un voyage que je fis dans la région du Tigré dans le nord de l’Éthiopie le montre très bien.

Un matin, on m’emmena devant un lit de rivière asséché aux confins du village. Des fermiers creusaient un trou dans le lit de la rivière pour atteindre la nappe phréatique située à deux mètres sous le niveau de la terre. Ils m’expliquèrent que, jusqu’à récemment, c’était une rivière pérenne, dont l’écoulement ne tarit jamais tout au long de l’année, qui maintenant cessait de couler à la saison sèche. L’eau ne réapparaît dans le lit de la rivière qu’à la saison des pluies annuelles au commencement de l’été. En attendant cette saison, les communautés privées d’eau creusent pour trouver de l’eau, s’ils en trouvent et s’ils peuvent se permettre de la pomper.

Dans le nord de l’Éthiopie, comme dans le reste de l’Afrique, le cycle des pluies a remarquablement changé ces dernières années. La vie des villageois éthiopiens dépend depuis longtemps de deux récoltes : celle faite lors de la saison des petites pluies en mars et en avril et la récolte principale faite durant les grandes pluies des mois d’été. Ces dernières années, les petites pluies ne se sont pas produites du tout et les grandes pluies se sont montrées imprévisibles. La famine est omniprésente. La moitié des enfants environ souffre gravement d’un poids insuffisant.

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