Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hope and fear in Kenya ahead of El Nino rains

AllAfrica.com via IRIN News: …Although it is believed this year's El Nino will not be as severe as that of 1998, the Kenya Meteorological Department has urged the country to be prepared for the rains, expected between mid-September and December.

Joseph Mukabana, the department's director, told a news conference in late August that the El Nino impact was likely to be aggravated by the prolonged drought in many parts of the country. At least 20 million people are food insecure in the greater Horn of Africa, which includes Kenya, because of the drought, according to the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS Net).

These countries, it added, suffer chronic poverty, civil war or insecurity, refugees and internally displaced persons, environmental degradation, poor marketing mechanisms and constrained income opportunities.

"The environment is quite sick, it is not wearing any clothes, the pastures are degraded and the impact is likely to be more soil erosion and siltation," Mukabana said. Flooding and mudslides, he added, were likely to occur in parts of the country….

A roadside market in Kenya, shot by Angela Sevin, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License