Published On: Tue, Dec 3rd, 2019

Kenya Floods: The clearest sign of the impact of Climate change to communities

NAIROBI, May 8 (Xinhua) — Kenya is facing one of its worst floods crises in years after rainwater displaced thousands of people across the country.

The rains have been pounding the East African nation for the last two months.

Up to 32 of the 47 counties have been affected by floods but the worst are among those in arid regions, which normally receive little rainfall.

They include counties in the dry North namely Mandera, and Garissa and at the Coast like Tana River and Kilifi and in Eastern Machakos and Kitui.

Up to 300,000 people have been affected by floods, according to the Kenya Red Cross, and they are in dire need of food, water, clothing and shelter.

The humanitarian agency has also noted that over 70,000 animals have been washed away, hundreds of acres of crops destroyed and thousands of homes marooned by floods.

Tens of schools have further been destroyed by floods, affecting learning in several regions across the country.

A number of schools are hosting flood victims as hundreds of learners fail to report back for the second term which started last week Wednesday.

Other infrastructure destroyed include roads and bridges, with the government noting it would require up to 600 million U.S. dollars to repair the network.

Julius Korir, Infrastructure Principal Secretary, said 110 million dollars will be used on repair of rural roads while 400 million dollars will be used on fixing urban roads.

Kenya Red Cross puts the number of deaths at least 112 and the society has appealed for 5 million dollars in the short-term to support families affected by floods.

In the capital Nairobi, the worst affected are residents in the tens of slum districts across the city, who have been displaced mainly due to poor drainage.

However, the National Disaster Management Authority and Meteorological Department on Monday warned of floods in several city estates in the coming days due to expected heavy rains.

They include Langata, Syokimau, South B and South C, areas populated by the middle-class.

The Meteorological Department had predicted near-normal rainfall in most parts of the country between the March-May long rain seasons.

However, the rains have surpassed the intensity predicted by the weatherman, pointing to their unpredictability.

Analysts have blamed the current crisis to the effects of climate change, as the weather alternates from one extreme to another.

“Kenya is battling two extreme weather conditions in a span of four months. Before the heavy rains, the country was gripped by dry weather that saw people and animals in arid areas starve to death. Now the same people who were starving are dying of floods. It is unexplainable,” said Henry Wandera, an economics lecturer in Nairobi.

He attributed the predicament to the effects of climate change, whose vagaries are raging due to forest destruction, among other man-made causes.

“It is going to mid-May when the rains are supposed to have subsided in intensity but they are getting stronger to the worry of citizens,” he said.

Besides floods and dry conditions, pests and diseases are other effects of climate change the country is grappling with.

Kenya is currently battling Fall armyworms that have ravaged acres upon acres of the maize crop for the second season threatening the staple.

But the worst it seems it is yet to come for the East African nation as more rains have been predicted.

“Heavy rainfall of more than 50mm in 24 hours is expected offshore and in all counties along the Coastal strip. On Wednesday, moderate rainfall of more than 30mm in 24 hours is expected in the South Coast region,” Peter Ambenje, acting Director of Kenya Meteorological Department, said in a statement Monday.

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Kenya Floods: The clearest sign of the impact of Climate change to communities
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