Counties grappling with El Nino Mitigation measures!


-A united front is essential to address the impacts of climate change-.

Men cross a flooded maize field .Courtesy/SciDev.Ne

The Africa Climate Summit, which took place in Kenya four weeks ago, saw over 20 different African presidents in attendance. This significant event unfolded between September 4th and 8th, 2023, in Nairobi, Kenya.

The ACS Climate Weeks provided a platform for practitioners, businesses, policymakers, and civil society to engage in discussions about climate solutions and the challenges posed by various climate changes witnessed in different regions of Kenya and Africa.

The late Nobel Prize winner, Kenyan politician, and environmental activist, Wangari Maathai, once wisely said, “The generation that destroys the environment is not the generation that pays the price. That is the problem.”

Climate change affects people in numerous ways, particularly the youth, who may not be directly involved or fully aware of its consequences. In Kenya, climate change adaptation efforts must encompass every region, county, and stakeholder, including political leaders, climate change activists, and policymakers. A united front is essential to address the impacts of climate change.

Kenya’s weather experts have issued warnings to counties like Nyamira, Kisii, Baringo, Trans Nzoia, Nakuru, Kakamega, Busia, Elgeyo Marakwet, Uasin Gishu, Migori, and Homa Bay, indicating that they will experience heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. Kenya can anticipate average rainfall from October to early 2024.

The government has taken several measures to prepare for the impending rainfall, including establishing emergency centers in affected counties and setting up a dedicated emergency hotline. Additionally, health facilities have been stocked to address potential health concerns.

Baringo, a region frequently impacted by floods due to the rising water levels in Lake Baringo, has established a 24-hour call center to enhance preparedness for the upcoming El Niño rains. “Tension is high here over the news that El Niño is coming because it causes a lot of property loss, sweeping away animals, homes, and people, leaving us homeless and in need,” says Baringo resident Lucy Chebet.

Residents express their concerns about previous rainy seasons that left them homeless. Timothy Kipchumba, a local, questions, “During the previous heavy rainfall season, we experienced a lot of losses. Floods carried away our animals and claimed the lives of three children from the same family. Over 1000 goats were lost. We ask the government, where are we going this time round when you ask us to move to safer ground? How long should Baringo residents rely on government assistance for food when we can grow our own?”

From 2019 to 2022, Kenya witnessed insufficient rainfall in certain parts of the country, with the northern regions and pastoralist communities, dependent on livestock for their livelihoods, being severely affected. Over 4.1 million Kenyans experienced prolonged rainfall failure, vulnerable groups such as women and children bearing the brunt of the situation. The Kenyan Meteorological Department warns that some parts of the northern region of the country will experience strong winds exceeding 25 knots, affecting counties like Turkana, Marsabit, and Isiolo.

Residents living around Lake Nakuru have also been advised to relocate to safer ground as the area consistently faces flooding during heavy rainfall seasons.

By: Jesse Abisheck

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