Climate Change (99)
ELDORET, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Peter Kinywa 47, was born and raised in Uasin Gishu County more than a decade ago by his late grandparents.
For the period he has been a life, Kinywa confessed that he has never seen such raging floods like the one that swept what he has known as his home for 20 years leaving him homeless man.
Kinywa residents in Kamukunji estate, which is located in the outskirts of Eldoret town, one among the many centers that was recently hit badly by the raging floods that caused havoc to not only the residents of Eldoret but also to residents of the neigbouring counties of Elgeyo- Marakwet and Baringo.
Kinywa has now been left a homeless man venting over is family of seven children.
He said they have been forced to seek accommodation from friends and relatives even as fears loom over a disease outbreak.
According to Kinywa, most dams and rivers have been filled to capacity and crops have been washed away.
“ We do not have any food and roof over our head as this rain continue to rain havoc.” He said.
The father of seven accused the county government of Uasin Gishu for doing little in preparation such extreme weather condition.
“ The metrological departments had warned that the region was going to experience extreme weather pattern such as flooding but the county government did not move with speed to clear drainages.”
He said with disappointment.
The heavy rains continue to wreak havoc in the country causing death of over hundred people and displacing more than 10,000 others.
In the neighbouring counties of Baringo and Elgeyo – Marakwet the situation is no different. Kenya Red Cross reported that two school had been shut down with over 500 houses destroyed.
The Iten-Kabarnet which connect the two counties was also cut off by landslides following heavy rains in parts of the North Rift region.
“ Heavy rocks and mud rolled down the escarpments in Kerio Valley and blocked the road at Kamok near Kolol center thus paralyzing transport along the route that links Elgeyo Marakwet with Baringo counties.” Said Amos Ole Mpaka, a resident of Baringo county.
Ole Mpaka noted that a significant number of motorists ferrying people and goods between the two counties remained stranded at the areas that were cut off with no movement on both sides.
More than 1,500 families in areas prone to mudslides in Elgeyo Marakwet, Uasin Gishu and Nandi Counties have been asked to move to safer areas with the rains expected to increase.
Public health officials ordered closure of the Kapseret and Arbuch primary schools in Uasin Gishu after toilets were submerged and destroyed by floods.
Headteacher at Kapseret primary in Uasin Gishu County Daniel Shongoi is appealed for assistance to construct new toilets at the school.
“We cannot put the lives of the children at risk and so we have decided to close the schools indefinitely so that repairs are done”, said Shongoi.
Floods have displaced several families in Eldoret where hundreds of houses were partly submerged by water.
Most affected are residents of Kidiwa, Kamkunji and Eeistleigh estates where more than 500 houses were damaged by water.
Uasin Gishu County Commissioner Abdi Hassan said they were monitoring the situation in the region where rains have been on the increase.
“We have our disaster management teams in place and we are asking those in risky areas to take extra precaution and move once they detect increasing volumes of water”, said Hassan.
Five dams in Uasin Gishu have also been classified as dangerous and engineers have been deployed to carry out repairs in order to avert disasters like the one in Solai two weeks ago.
County executive for environment Mary Njogu says the region has 300 dams and already they have been inspected for safety.
She says 18 of the dams put up during colonial times have undergone major repairs by the county to ensure they are safe because they are being used to store huge volumes of water.
According to Njogu, the extreme weather condition being witnessed recently in Eldoret and the neigbouring counties of the North Rift has never been witnessed before.
“ We as county we are being re –awaken that the hazard of climate change is here with us.” She said.
The CEC said they will push for legislation that shall ensure that proper policies and sufficient resources is set aside to mitigate climate change.
Even as the county government seek to find redress on the matter, trader in Eldoret are counting losses following a heavy downpour that has caused extensive damage to their buildings and properties.
The downpour increased rapidly destroying property, sweeping away parked vehicles and breaking electricity posts.
Business owners tried to salvaged valuables in the wake of what many called some of the worst floods to hit the region.
“The situation is pathetic. I have never seen it this bad. The county government should do something because at end of the day the landlord will come knocking our doors asking for rent,” said Anne Kirui, 55, a businesswoman.
Mrs Kirui and her grandson were stuck for three hours in her cosmetics shop waiting for help from the fire brigade that never came.
“Imagine I had to put my grandson on my shoulder for three hours as I called the fire department to come, but they never picked my calls. I have lost almost half a million in the floods,” she added
Uasin Gishu District Hospital was also not spared either. The floods destroyed the drug store, according to Wilson Kemei, the chief officer for Health.
“The most affected place is the drug store. Patients had to wait for long hours to be served by medics who were removing water from the building,” said Mr. Kemei.
Residents of the town blamed the county government, saying it was not maintaining drainage systems near business premises and roads.
“We are using generator pumps to drain off water from our premises. If only the county government could have done their work in terms of drainage systems we couldn’t be wasting our resources now,” said one official of a Khetia supermarket who could not ascertain his losses in the floods.
Uasin Gishu Land and Planning minister Eng. Nelson Maritim said the county government was working on drainage systems to avoid such floods in future.
“We need to have waterways because the drainage is not proper. Some people are living on land where drainage systems are supposed to be and we will be giving them notice to vacate so that we can improve the drainages,” said Maritim
PAMACC Announcement: Climate Home News is seeking a hungry, tenacious reporter to join our team in London.
Working from our office in Covent Garden, you will bolster CHN’s coverage of the global politics and impacts of climate change. This is a full-time role, reporting to the editor-in-chief.
Climate Home News is an award-winning specialist news site with a mission to bring important climate stories to as large an audience as possible. We are fiercely independent and seek to hold powerful actors to account, while also tracking the politics and actions that will decide the future of our climate. Our coverage of UN climate negotiations is unrivalled.
As a small news website, we prize original reporting above all, constantly looking to break news and cover stories others miss. We are seeking a versatile journalist with the ability to write news, features and analysis and source scoops.
As well as keeping our small newsroom ticking with regular, punchy news articles, you will be expected to help break more detailed stories of political intrigue – like our recent exposé of the story behind the removal of a leading Fijian diplomat – or corporate activity – like the documents we sourced on BP’s plan to drill for oil in Australia.
You should be able to demonstrate a flair for enterprise reporting and building investigations into stories. Data skills and experience using FOI are also advantageous.
Other desirable attributes:
- Knowledge of climate change, international climate politics and diplomacy
- Strong contacts in government, industry or finance in the climate space
- Experience reporting at UN climate conferences
- Languages other than English
- Ability to think creatively about story delivery, visualisation and use of social media to reach our audience
We specialise in reporting climate diplomacy, particularly the UN process. But we do much more than that. Our outlook is internationalist and the successful reporter will demonstrate an ability to source stories from around the world, for a global audience. The job will involve travel to report from climate summits and the frontlines of climate change.
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Climate Home News is owned and operated by Climate Change News Ltd. We are an equal employment opportunity employer, and do not discriminate on the basis of race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability, national origin or citizenship.
KISUMU, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Maurince Otieno has been a fisherman for over 15 years. He inherited this outstanding skill of fishing from his late grandfather George Omollo Otieno who was a renowned fisherman in his time.
For the past several months, Otieno who does his fishing along the shores of Dunga beach in Lake Victoria has been experiencing difficulties in his fishing expedition despite his bloodline skills.
Otieno, currently in his late 40s says he no longer harvests sufficient fish to meet the needs of his immediate and extended family that depends on him.
This has made him a very scared man. He is afraid of what the future holds for him and his family as his only source of income continues to diminish very fast.
“We are doomed. I don’t know how I will support my family now that I hardly have any catch. I am a worried man,” he says as we set out for a fish expedition along the shores of Lake Victoria in Dunga beach.
Ever since the passing on of his father more than 10 years ago, Otieno notes he has been eking out a living out of the turbulence waters of Lake Victoria.
He observes that his father and grandfathers, were all fishermen and they passed the skills of fishing on to their siblings.
But Otieno notes that the tradition that has always been passed down from one generation to another was bound to come to an end in his life time as fishing spots continue to diminish along the shores of Lake Victoria.
“I am certain that my generation will have nothing to pass down to coming generation as it has been our norm and tradition,” stresses Otieno in a low tone with a sense of disappointment.
He notes that his family has been forced to find alternative ways to make a living besides fishing which has been their bloodline.
“I don’t know what is happening to our God given lake, we hardly catch any fish,” narrates Otieno as he jumps into his dilapidated boat.
“You see all these,” he says as he hands me a life jacket and shows me a fleet of abandon boats that were on the verge of rotting, “the owners abandon them here due to declining fish in the lake.”
With disillusionment evident in his hoarse voice, he engages the forward gear to his boat and the engine roars as we begin to drift and gain momentum as the boat accelerates.
I engage a handful of fishermen that we find and their sentiments were similar.
After three hours of fishing with no success, we docked the boat at the shores of Dunga beach.
It was at this beach that I was lucky to bump into a researcher and scientist who according to Otieno has been doing “serious research “of the lake.
Dickson Wallace, the scientist and researcher says she has been conducting research on the lake for over three years.
Wallance notes that the lake was adversely being impacted negatively by the climate change that is common with extreme weather patterns over a period of time.
He attributes extreme weather changes to climate change, which he says was also being experienced not only in Nyanza region of Kenya but also across other neighbouring towns.
To this end, he observes that the rampant variation particularly in temperatures, may have been the cause of declining marine life at Africa’s Largest Lake - Lake Victoria.
“It is no doubt that a significant number of aquatic marine are usually affected by extreme weather conditions caused by climate changes,” he says.
A report released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) this year which assessed the extinction risk of 651 freshwater species in Lake Victoria including fish and aquatic plants found that up to 24 percent of these species are being threatened with extinction.
The world nature watchdog cautioned that, "three-quarters (76 percent) of these endemics are at risk of extinction."
Will Darwall, the co-author of the report who heads IUCN's freshwater biodiversity unit said in the report that although "the Lake Victoria Basin is incredibly rich in unique species found nowhere else on Earth, its biodiversity is being decimated."
Apart from climate change, the report attributed this to Industrial and agricultural pollution, invasion of the deadly water hyacinth, over-harvesting of fish and wetland degradation among others.
One of the worst affected fish species is the African Lungfish, according to this report.
As discovered by this report, Kibet Chemiron, a marine expert and fellow at the University of Port Elizabeth in South Africa, confirms the negative effects of climate change on freshwater species in Lake Victoria.
According to Kibet, most aquatic animal species that are used for human consumption are poikilothermic (animals whose internal body temperatures change with the temperature around them) and are usually affected by extreme weather brought by climate change.
Chemiron explains that any changes in habitat temperatures usually influence fish metabolism, growth rate, productivity, seasonal reproduction, and susceptibility to diseases and toxins.
“Fish population may be reducing drastically as a result of these factors emanating from climate change,” he says.
Rose Anyango, a resident who has a mini food joint at the beach says they no longer have access to clean water.
“The dams where we used to access clean water are now filled with mad caused by flooding water,” she states.
This article was made possible thanks to support from InfoNile and Code for Africa.
Heat waves and droughts in the tropics would make life unbearable for people living near felled forests in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa; Climate agreements only tackle half the climate threat to forests
OSLO, Norway (PAMACC News) — An emerging body of research on the non-carbon impacts of deforestation reveals that destroying tropical forests significantly alters the Earth’s delicate energy balance, rainfall, and wind systems, leading to warmer and drier conditions near cleared forests and out-of-whack weather patterns across the globe, according to a new report by leading forest experts to be released at a major global forest gathering on June 27, 2018.
The research suggests these “new” impacts of deforestation, rooted in the flow of solar energy through forests across the upper atmosphere, disruptions to the atmosphere’s chemical cocktail, and dramatic declines in water cycling are just as damaging to the climate as the carbon released into the atmosphere when trees are cut down.
“We’ve known for a long time that chopping down tropical forests spews dangerous amounts of carbon into the atmosphere,” said Nancy Harris, Research Manager of the Forests program at the World Resources Institute and working paper co-author.. “Now we are learning that removing trees from the earth’s surface also throws off the energy, water and chemical balances that make it possible for us to grow food and live our lives in predictable and productive ways. If we continue to cut down trees, we’ll have to rewrite what we know about the weather—and we can forget about global goals to keep temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.”
The working paper, “Tropical Forests and Climate Change: The Latest Science,” is one of nine studies released today at the opening of the two-day Oslo Tropical Forest Forum, an event hosted by the Norwegian government to celebrate results and identify remaining challenges 10 years after reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) was included in the climate change negotiations, and to advance strategies for mobilizing forests to help achieve the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The working paper synthesizes findings from a slew of recent studies that, when they come together, conclude that large-scale forest loss in any of the three major tropical forest zones— Latin America, Southeast Asia and Central Africa—would lead to a rise in local temperatures, and disruptions to the water cycle locally and half a world away. These studies use sophisticated modeling to determine the physical, chemical and reflective impacts of removing forests from the surface of the earth en masse, and satellites to measure the changes that have already happened. “When you add up these impacts of forest loss, one thing is clear: people living closest to deforested areas face a hotter, drier reality,” said Harris. “These changes won’t hit Brazilians, Indonesians, or Congolese sometime in the future—they are hitting them now, and they’ll only get worse as more forests disappear.”
Areas in the tropics that experienced deforestation in the last decade have seen significant and long-lasting increases in local air surface temperatures. “Observed local temperature impacts of deforestation are in one direction: hotter,” said Michael Wolosin, Forest Climate Analytics’ President and working paper co-author. “Daily average temperatures went up by a degree, and maximum temperatures by 2 degrees C, in just a decade. Over the same period, the global carbon and GHG impact was less than one fifth as much – 0.2 degrees C. Deforestation is wreaking havoc on local climates across the tropics.”
The Amazon region of South America, home of the world’s largest rainforest, would feel the most heat and drought from forest loss. Complete deforestation would lead to regional warming of about two degrees Celsius and a roughly 15 percent drop in annual rainfall. Researchers have already linked the 2015 drought that hit Brazil, impacting people, crops and industry, to forest loss in the Amazon.
“In its focus on ending greenhouse gas emissions, the Paris Agreement only takes the first step in addressing the drastic consequences of deforestation on the climate,” saidWolosin. “If global and national policymakers fail to come up with an action plan for staving off the immediate and debilitating impact of deforestation on local and global weather patterns, they could put the lives of millions in peril. The question is, what’s more important – the short-term income generated from fields after fields of soy or palm oil, or a stable, predictable weather patterns for generations to come?”
Tropical forests drive the global movement of air, water, and heat in diverse ways, leading to profound impacts on the climate. Through the process of evapotranspiration, trees pump water from their roots through their leaves as water vapor, humidifying the air and causing surface cooling. Because forests have more leaf surface area and deeper roots than grasslands or croplands, they cycle more water. The water pumped through a single tree can cause local surface cooling equivalent to 70 kWh for every 100 liters, enough energy to power two household central air-conditioners per day. Removing these trees can lead to local flooding, soil erosion and droughts.
Impacts from these tropical forest cover changes on water and heat cycling extend well beyond the tropical regions themselves through “teleconnections”, associated with the mass movement of air and conditions in the upper atmosphere. An increase in temperature in the tropics due to deforestation generates large upward-moving air masses. When these hit the upper atmosphere they cause ripples, or teleconnections, that flow outward in various directions, similar to the way an underwater earthquake can create a tsunami.
According to one landmark study about this phenomenon, complete deforestation could put the climate in some of the world’s most important agriculture regions off kilter. These variations in rainfall and spikes in temperature could occur across the world. For example, complete deforestation of the Amazon Basin would likely reduce rainfall in the US Midwest, Northwest and parts of the south during the agricultural season. The complete deforestation of Central Africa would likely cause declines in rainfall in the Gulf of Mexico and parts of the US Midwest and Northwest and increase it on the Arabian Peninsula. There could also be precipitation declines in Ukraine and Southern Europe.
“Halting deforestation, allowing damaged forests to grow back, and keeping undisturbed forests intact, are necessary to ensure the stability of the climate” said Frances Seymour, Program Chair of the Oslo Tropical Forests Forum and lead author of Why Forests? Why Now?. “Fortunately, we know a lot about ways to stop deforestation, but developing countries can’t do this alone. Donor countries should ramp up funding of efforts by tropical forest nations to halt deforestation, and address the global consumption, trade and investment patterns that drive forest loss.”