Diakonia and several of our partner organisations are present at COP17 in Durban. Many more are active in the struggle against climate change. For people living in poor countries, climate change is a harsh reality. We asked our country representatives in Latin America to give us some examples:
Several models and climate studies describe the relation of rising temperature and glacier retreat in tropical Andes, which are more affected by climate change than their temperate counterparts, due to larger sun exposure and the coincidence of the rainy season with the summer, reducing the snow accumulation.
Widely reported glaciers mass loss is already affecting downstream indigenous communities' livelihoods which report water release during abnormal periods and loss of vegetables surfaces.
The Diakonia programme in Bolivia and its partners Nordic Climate Facility and Agua Sustentable work with communities surrounding the Illimani and Sajama tropical glaciers to address climate change adaptations actions suited for the physical and socio-productive context by combining local knowledge and scientific climate information.
See the movie from Khapi, Bolivia
In the higher parts (above 3,900 meter above sea level) of Huancavelica, the poorest region in Peru: The population, that largely depend on agricultural activities, have seen their already scarce incomes threatened due to great instability in the earlier regular rainfall.
A constant reduction of the surrounding glaciers (Huamanrazo – 5298 m.a.s.l., Jahuina – 5288 m.a.s.l and Altar 5268 m.a.s.l) threaten the very existence of the communities within less than 20 years. The migration towards the cities is already increasing.
In Guatemala the hurricanes and tropical depressions are every year more intense and devastating, affecting above all the indigenous population living in greater poverty and with less resources to protect themselves against the disasters.
The tropical depression 12-E that ravaged Guatemala in October 2011 was no exception and Diakonia’s local partner organisation – Asociación de Mujeres Nuevo Horizonte – contacted Diakonia seeking support for several hundreds of families living in communities along the river Chixoy with the water on the streets reaching the waist and great problems in securing even minimal standards of food and health.
In the municipalities of Protección and Naranjito i the Santa Barbara region, the population consume few lactose products, meat and vegetables and instead largely depend on the locally cultivated grains.
Due to the climate change, alterations have led to increased frequency of floodings, drought and damage of soils. Diakonia works with the population to promote sustainable agricultural production and improvement of food security, with special focus on production in mountainous areas where the soils and water sources are especially vulnerable.