The climate crisis will affect us all, but in vastly different ways—as the last week has shown. While holidays were cut short due to wildfires on Greek islands, millions of people across east Africa went hungry.
In Kenya, a prolonged drought and unpredictable weather caused by climate change have led to the death of more than 8 million livestock. The loss of animals has had a catastrophic impact on the families that rely on them for survival.
It has also sent the price of milk, meat and eggs spiralling, putting them out of reach of many people. The adverse weather has also led to crop failures, which in turn has led to a shortage of cattle feed.
The crisis in Kenya will make an already desperate situation even worse, especially for those who are already refugees.
Tens of thousands of people fled from Somalia to Kenya to escape drought and conflict. They have been forced to settle in camps, such as the one in Dadaab, which is home to around 360,000 refugees—making it one of the largest refugee camps in the world.
In February of this year, the Kenyan government reopened the gates to the camp allowing many more refugees to receive food aid. But now supplies are running dangerously low.
Food rations have been cut by 80 percent to just over half the minimum daily nutritional requirement. And families that once prepared three meals a day have had to reduce to two or just one. Aid organisations warn that funding and resources are running dangerously low.
Yet Britain’s government and media are not rushing to meet those fleeing climate collapse in countries such as Somalia with sympathy.
They are not pledging aid and support, or encouraging a wave of solidarity. That is reserved for British people fleeing the fires scorching the Greek islands.
Tourists evacuated from Rhodes last weekend got a taste of what it could be like to be a climate refugee. Jodie told the Manchester Evening News how she and her family had to flee their hotel in Kiotari.
“We ran to the beach, dragging our cases and the kids.
“The smoke was thick and black, and the heat was immense. We left the cases after a few steps and the baby’s pram. “Out of the smoke a boat then turned up. I had to push my daughter through the bars on this boat and then my son. We just wanted our babies to get to safety. We couldn’t breathe and we had towels over our mouths.
“My daughter was screaming, ‘I don’t want to die’.”
Similar terrifying stories could come from the lips of thousands of refugees—but its testimony we rarely hear in Britain.
On some parts of Rhodes, tourists have been forced to shelter in schools and sports halls. Some have reported that local residents have taken them in. In total, 19,000 people have been evacuated from the island as of Monday.
A Home Office spokesperson this week confirmed that a Rapid Deployment Team had arrived there to ensure travel operators could get British people home.
On Corfu, high winds are making it difficult to put out fires that began on the north of the island. Around 600 holidaymakers there were transferred from hotels to a municipal theatre.
Fire service spokesman Vasilios Vathrakogiannis this week said that 64 new wildfires have broken out across Greece, bringing the total number of fires up to 82 so far.
All of this we rightly expect to see in our newspapers and on our TV and device screens. But when it comes to the suffering of the black and brown people, surviving beyond Europe’s razor-wire border it seems our broadcasters’ sympathy runs out.
These tales of two sets of people offer a snapshot of how the climate crisis will worsen inequality and how our racist leaders will decide whose lives are worth saving.
Plus Deliveroo judgment, and anti-racist action in Wigan and Oxford
The Israeli state has murdered almost 250 Palestinians in the West Bank