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Recent aerial photo [left] shows the almost snowless top of Mount Kilimanjaro | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Recent aerial photo [left] shows the almost snowless top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Some scientists had earlier suggested that the snow caps and glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro would disappear altogether between 2015 and 2020. Aerial view [right] of the Kibo summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in 1938. XINHUA PHOTO - XU SUHUI and MEADER, MARY - AMERICAN GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY LIBRARY, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE LIBRARIES

Tanzania to build ice data research center on Mount Kilimanjaro

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania is in the final stage to establish a well-equipped snow and ice data center on Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, a senior official said Tuesday.

Agnes Kijazi, Director General of Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA), said having a data center will be one step towards answering why ice cap at the peak of Kilimanjaro is melting.

Approximately 85 percent of the glacial ice on Kilimanjaro disappeared between 1912 and 2011, and the remainder could disappear before 2020, according to a 2012 report by NASA. These are the same glaciers that have survived three periods of abrupt climate change, the most recent of which brought a 300-year drought starting in 2,200 BC.

"We are aware that ice cap on Mount Kilimanjaro is diminishing, but there is no scientific reason as why is it so," she said.

"There are many people who link the snow reduction with climate change.

|But, I’m sure that once the center will be established at the mountain it will be easier to get the reason and the remarkable measures to address the vice."

  Three-dee view of Mount Kilimanjaro - Wkkipedia | Coastweek

'Three-dee' view of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Mrisho Gambo, Arusha Regional Commissioner, commended the move by TMA, saying it will also help promote the country’s tourism.

"The center at the mountain will make it a modern park that would provide accurate data on weather and climate in and outside Tanzania," he said.


UN calls for reforesting Africa’s highest mountain to tackle water shortage

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Reforesting Africa’s highest mountain could help protect vital water supplies that are under threat across large parts of East Africa, according to a newly released United Nations Environment report.

The report also says protecting East Africa’s mountain ecosystems will help safeguard the region’s vital tourism industry, which is worth 7 billion U.S. dollars to East Africa.

"Across the continent, the damage done to these vital ecosystems is depriving people of the basic building blocks of life," said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment.

He said Mount Kilimanjaro is one example of how climate change is severely damaging Africa’s majestic mountains and the people who depend on them.

Solheim observed that as climate change intensifies, it is essential that governments act swiftly to prevent further harm.

The mountains of East Africa are not only highly productive agricultural areas, they also have unexploited hydro-power potential for a region crippled by a lack of electricity.

Rivers in the Nile Basin, for example, could generate 20 gigawatts of electricity while the Mau Forest could generate a further 508 megawatts—enough to meet half of Kenya’s capacity.

Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest in Africa, contributes to over one third of Tanzania’s total revenue from tourism but is facing problems ranging from shrinking glacier to rampant wild fires.

The report urges the Tanzanian government to protect the mountain’s water catchment area by reforesting the mountain, investing in early warning systems and making climate adaptation a top priority.

Mount Kilimanjaro forests are a vital source of water for the surrounding towns and the wider region. Water from the mountain feeds one of Tanzania’s largest rivers, the Pangani.

The report titled "Sustainable Mountain Development in East Africa in a Changing Climate" warned that the glaciers are likely to vanish completely within a few decades as a result of climate change if urgent action is not taken.

Meanwhile, higher temperatures have increased the number of wildfires, which have destroyed 13,000 hectares of the mountain’s forest since 1976.

The town of Moshi, which is located in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, is already experiencing severe water shortages as rivers begin to dry up, starving farmland of water in an area already struggling to cope with a dramatic drop in rainfall.

The report was produced by UN Environment, GRID-Arendal, East African Community, the Albertine Rift Conservation Society and Nature-RIDD.

It is produced as part of the Mountain Adaptation Outlook Series, which was launched by UN Environment at the climate talks in Paris in 2015.

APRIL 2016:

Tanzania launches clean-up campaign on Mount Kilimanjaro

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian authorities have launched a national wide special campaign to clean up Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa which attracts more than 50,000 tourists annually.

The campaign dubbed ‘leave the mountain clean, conserve environment so that they can protect you’ came at the time when the Africa’s roof is overwhelmed with a number of challenges such as land degradation, non availability of good water, loss of biodiversity, frequent forest fires and pollution.

Speaking at the official launch of the campaign, Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner, Said Meck Sadick said the mountain is an important cornerstone when it comes to Tanzania’s tourism industry.

The mountain, which is a biosphere reserve and a world heritage site, generates nearly 30 million U.S. dollars income annually and employs more than 300,000 people.

"We want this campaign to be successful and sensitize climbers to respect and conserve the environment in the Kilimanjaro National Park," the regional chief said, urging tour operators to take responsibilities of conserving environment of the park, which is the lifeline for many people.

Sadick described Mount Kilimanjaro as one of the national values, vowing to take stern measures against illegal loggers in the park.

Director General of the Tanzania National Park Allan Kijazi said the campaign is meant to make Mount Kilimanjaro remain as it is and continues to lure more tourists.

According to Kijazi, the Kilimanjaro National Park leads the 16 national parks in terms of revenue collection, adding that tourism sector contributes 25 percent of the country’s foreign exchange and 17 percent of the national GDP.

"So, we must ensure that these tourism destinations are protected for the benefit of the country and the world at large."

The seven-day clean-up campaign is to involve more than 100 tourism stakeholders. Cleaners will be working on all the entrance and exit gates of Mount Kilimanjaro.


Norwegian tourist dies while climbing Kilimanjaro

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- A Norwegian tourist died when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, police said.

Wilbroad Mutafungwa, Kilimanjaro Regional Police Commander, said Johan Aclep, 54, died on Saturday while trying to climb the mountain located in northern Tanzania.

He said that the man started the journey through Rongai gate in Rombo District, but haphazardly fell sick and died at the Simba camp, one of the camps on the way to the summit.

This was the third death of tourists in 2016 on the mountain.

In September last year, a Chinese national died of pulmonary Oedema while climbing the mountain.

In July 2016, a South African race car driver died while attempting to scale the mountain after experiencing breathing problems.

Climbing Kilimanjaro is described as one of the most dangerous things for bold adventurers.

Approximately 1,000 people are evacuated from the mountain, and 10 deaths are reported every year, mainly caused by altitude sickness, according to some estimates.

JULY 2016:

South African tourist dies while climbing Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- South African racing car driver Gugu Zulu has died while climbing the Africa’s roof, Mount Kilimanjaro, authorities confirmed.

Pascal Shelutete, spokesperson for the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), said in a statement that the death of the 38-year-old South African national was caused by altitude sickness.

TANAPA and other Tanzania’s government agencies were working on the logistics to transport the body of the victim to South Africa," the official said.

He said that Zulu started climbing the mountain on July 14, this year in a trip dubbed; ‘Trek4Mandela initiative’ that saw prominent South Africans try to summit the mountain for Mandela Day.

"It was the second time for tourists from South Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro as part of honoring Mandela, the late and former South African President," he said.

Reports said that Zulu was on the mountain with his wife, Letshego Zulu, and other well-known South Africans and he experienced problems breathing last night.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Neeran Naidoo said:

"We spoke to two members this morning and we understand he had problems breathing last night.

"The medical team on the site put him onto a drip and brought him down from the mountain.

"They tried everything possible to save his life but unfortunately we lost Gugu this morning."

Zulu was a celebrated and well-established racing driver for Volkswagen.

In a statement by the foundation a short while ago, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation Sello Hatang said:

"I am devastated.

"|I knew him well.

"I recruited him to climb Kilimanjaro.

"The last thing he said to me at the airport before he left last week was that he wanted to speak about doing other Mandela Day projects.

"I feel a huge sense of loss."

Climbing Kilimanjaro is probably one of the most dangerous things you will ever do.

Every year, approximately 1,000 people are evacuated from the mountain, and approximately 10 deaths are reported.

The actual number of deaths is believed to be two to three times higher.

The main cause of death is altitude sickness.

Everyone climbing Mount Kilimanjaro should be familiar with the symptoms of altitude sickness.


Reforesting Africa’s highest mountain may resolve water shortage

Couple commended while exchanging vows on Mount Kilimanjaro

Tanzania to develop Hydro-power Project plan in Selous Reserve

Snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro as seen from Amboseli National Park | Coastweek
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- [Barely] snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro as seen from Amboseli National Park, located in Loitoktok District, Rift Valley region, about 140 kilometres (87 miles) South of Nairobi, capital of Kenya. The 390.26 Km2 park, the second most popular national park in Kenya after Maasai Mara National Reserve, is famous and popular among foreign tourists, for being the best place in Africa to get close to wild animals. XINHUA PHOTO - LIU JIANG



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