Only one in ten of Kenya’s counties preparing to deal with climate crisis

SELL: Report finds few authorities are readying for the coming challenges, and spending by those that do is too low

Monday 06 May 2019 16:03
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Drought and climate change leaves many rivers dry in Kenya.
Drought and climate change leaves many rivers dry in Kenya.

By Caroline Chebet for The Standard in Kenya

Only five of Kenya’s 47 counties have set aside funds to deal with climate change, a report has revealed. And the amount set aside by the five regional governments is only one to two per cent of their annual budget.

Garissa, Isiolo, Kitui, Makueni and Wajir - all in Kenya’s more arid areas - have established county climate change funds, while the remaining counties have done nothing as the effects of climate change continue to be felt across the country.

According to the 2018-2022 National Climate Change Action Plan, 42 counties are yet to set up regulations that will help them mainstream climate change into their development plans and ease adaptation to adverse weather patterns.

In the action plan, it is noted that climate-related disasters, particularly droughts and floods, are becoming more frequent with arid and semi-arid areas experiencing extreme weather conditions.

Changing weather patterns have seen floods become more frequent in Kenya. Some 183 people were killed by flooding last year, and 225,000 others being displaced. Of those displaced, 145,000 were children.

Over 700 schools were also closed last year due to flooding, according to Kenya’s National Climate Change Action Plan (NACC).

“Between 1990 and 2015, a total of 43 flood disasters happened in Kenya. This is equivalent to an average of 1.65 flood disasters per year. On average, each flood disaster affected 68,000 people. Estimates show that 267,000 Kenyans will be at risk from coastal flooding by 2030 because of sea level rise,” the 2018-2022 NACC partly read.

National Environmental and Complaints Committee Secretary John Chumo said despite the effects of climate change in counties, a majority of the counties seemed to take the issue lightly.

He said Kenya, like many other African countries, was highly vulnerable to climate change because most of its citizens rely on climate-sensitive natural resources.

“Only a few counties have come up with climate change funds regulations that will help them mainstream climate change into their development planning,” Dr Chumo said.

This article is reproduced here as part of the Giants Club African Conservation Journalism Fellowships, a programme of the charity Space for Giants and supported by the owner of ESI Media, which includes independent.co.uk. It aims to expand the reach of conservation and environmental journalism in Africa, and bring more African voices into the international conservation debate. Read the original story here.

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