By Sophie Squire
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Heat and wildfires devastate lives across the world

Leaders’ lack of urgency means ordinary people suffer through drought, fires and floods
Issue 2869
Wildfires near Kookipi Creek in British Columbia, Canada

Wildfires near Kookipi Creek in British Columbia, Canada, this month (Picture: Alamy/ Handout via Xinhua)

Climate chaos is causing the needless deaths of ordinary people and forcing countless numbers to flee their homes. On the Egyptian-Sudanese border, 15 truck drivers have died in 35-degree Celsius heat. There is no infrastructure to help the ­drivers, nor food or water.

At least 4, 000 drivers have been forced to queue in their trucks in scorching heat due to delays caused by the war in Sudan. One of the drivers posted an angry video online pleading with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to do something about the nearly 40-mile queue of trucks.

In the video he said, “Most of the people at the crossing are elderly, they have left their homes to work. For the sake of God people have run out of water and gas, you should come and visit these poor people.” It’s not even been a year since the Egyptian state hosted the Cop27 climate conference.

The conference was a way for Sisi to engage in greenwashing to hide his state’s human rights abuses and obscure its terrible ­climate record. The death of the truck drivers shows this was always a facade.

Meanwhile in Tenerife, part of the Spanish Canary Islands, wildfires scorched 20,800 acres of pine forest. This makes up about 4  percent of the island’s total surface area. The fire has been described as the worst Tenerife has suffered in over a decade.

One resident told Sky News, “You see this ­happening around the world, and now this island is on fire. Seeing the smoke come closer is very difficult. I have no emotions. I have no words about what is happening.”

And the tropical Storm Hillary is expected to bring more devastation after it swept across parts of Mexico and California, and San Diego in the United States. Experts have predicted the storm could lead to life‑threatening floods and landslides. Nearly 25 million people, from California to parts of northern Idaho, were under flood warnings on Monday.

One person has already died in Mexico after their car was swept into a stream that had burst its banks. At the same time, a wildfire burnt through Siskiyou County in Northern California, killing four people. In Canada upwards of 400 ­wildfires raged last Sunday, forcing 30,000 households to evacuate their homes.

Across British Columbia fires have become so large that they merged, forcing tens of thousands to flee. Those who live in the First Nation Indigenous communities of Ndilo and Dettah found that information about the wildfires was not easily available. They had to rely on ­word of mouth and the radio.

The devastation in Canada has been made worse by the climate crisis, which has led to a much hotter drier summer. Across the globe, ­leaders’ inaction lets environmental collapse continue. And their lack of urgency means they leave ordinary people to suffer drought, fires and floods.

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