Devastation Caused by Flooding Across Africa: An Effect of Global Warming


What Dirge

By Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

So what shall I use to wipe my brow?
To bring back a life
snatched away in its prime?
What shall I say, and what shall I lay hands
so helpless upon to wipe the sorrow
from my brow?

What shall I wear to mourn a life
whose end has dealt us this blow?
Shall I wear black, so when our townswomen,
hearing the drums, come wailing, wailing,
they shall see the sorrow
of my heart on my dark lappa?

Shall I tie a string around my forehead?
Shall I lie prostrate on The Mat?
Shall I cry tears for those you’ve left us to feed
when we ourselves cannot feed ourselves
in a land where the hungry, forever hungry,
keep the faith?

What dirge shall I sing?
Shall I recount the battles fought at Nganlun?
Shall I sing of blood shed at the cracking of a gun
when I myself am so afraid of the gun?
What shall I say when the women,
hearing my song, come wailing
and knocking at my door?


BBC news photo of flooding in Ethiopia

Read news at:

more-flooding-photos-ghana.jpg More photos from the BBC.

This evening I received a phone call from my son, MT’s friend, A’Shanti, who told me in her worried voice that there was a massive flood that had just devastated Africa. At first, I thought, there she goes again, the America that refers to an entire continent like a country, but I was wrong. The flooding, she explained had taken over huge areas of the continent from East to West, something which seemed almost impossible.

I became worried at this point especially because she said that the flooding had affected Ghana in a really terrible way. Well, with my son studying at the University of Ghana this semester, coupled with the knowledge that thousands of Liberian refugees are still stranded in Ghana, my heart sank. I know, you’d say, what about the others who aren’t related to you? My heart went out first to those closest to me and then to the rest of that beautiful continent that has seen most of the world’s troubles throughout the ages. To think that global warming that is mostly caused by us in the wealthy countries should now affect the poor of this world is disheartening.

After I hung up the phone, I went to the web to find the information I needed on the flood. There was no news on my TV as usual. There was almost nothing on the internet from most of the news sites that we watch here. A’Shanti had warned me that the only news of this world crisis would be found on BBC site. Fox news, she said also had a little coverage, so I tried first for Fox. And of course, she was right, I did not find any cable channel to help me, and for some reason, Fox had nothing to tell me.

Sometimes the world’s misery can be so overwhelming, we feel helpless. That was the first feeling that hit me after I read the first page on BBC. The flooding that engulfed the massive continent of Africa from the Horn of Africa through Central and then to the West of Africa is almost an unbelievable reality. From Somalia, Uganda, Rwanda, East African countries that are equipped to deal with heavy flooding were themselves very overwhelmed by this flooding. The damage done to hundreds of villages and towns seemed almost unbelievable, and the rains are still falling.

According to news estimate, there is going to be a very high death toll. Hundreds of thousands of homes have already been destroyed, and the flooding is expected to cause much disease and food shortage, not to speak of the homelessness of millions when all is done.

The flooding also affected West African countries like Ghana from the northern regions, through to Togo and other West African countries. According to news sources, many villages and towns have been wiped off the map of Ghana.

Not too long ago, hundreds of Liberians in Monrovia were made homeless by erosion from the Atlantic, a devastation caused by both the beach mining as well as global warming. It is not yet clear how much this massive flooding that has devastated so huge a region of the continent will affect Liberia, but any flooding that extends as far as Togo is sure to impact not just those affected countries, but all of Africa and the world.

My heart goes out to the millions of poor farmers and village people out across this vast region that was struck by the ugly flooding. My heart goes out to the refugees in East Africa, including Somalia who have been dealt another blow by the heavy flooding. My heart goes out to the West African countries of Togo and Ghana, and probably Liberia that have been so gravely affected. Did you hear the news today that such a disaster has befallen our people? Well, if you did, pass on the news so everyone can know.

Global warming is affecting us here too in the US, but here, many are fortunate because of the resources available to us here. But for the millions of poor people who have been stricken in Africa, many will perish before help arrives.


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