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Poor maintenance, lack of drainage causing flood on Nairobi road | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Motorists [left] wade through a flooded road in Nairobi. Photo taken on April 24, 2018 shows a submerged vehicle [right] in Nairobi. Kenya’s capacity to respond to negative impacts of climate change has suffered a severe blow as floods continue to wreak havoc in many parts of the country this long rain season. XINHUA PHOTOS - FRED MUTUNE

Lack of maintenance, poor drainage cause flood on Nairobi road

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s capacity to respond to negative impacts of climate change has suffered a severe blow as floods continue to wreak havoc in many parts of the country this long rain season.

The East African nation has experienced unprecedented flooding that has claimed an estimated 70 lives while destroying critical infrastructure since the middle of March when the long rains season begun.

Latest update from the meteorological department indicates that the heavy rains accompanied by flash floods could extend up to June.

So far, the low lying arid and semi-arid regions have borne the brunt of flooding which has cut off major road networks hence creating a humanitarian crisis.

The major urban centers too have not been spared as storm waters disrupt flow of traffic while clogging fragile drainage systems to the detriment of people’s health.

Environmentalists said the current flooding was a confirmation that Kenya is yet to establish strong policy, institutional and infrastructural safeguards against negative impacts of climate change.

John Kioli, the Chairman of a grassroots lobby, Kenya Climate Change Working Group, said the country should review a national climate change response strategy launched five years ago to enhance its response to natural calamities like floods and droughts.

"We are yet out of the woods as far as climate change adaptation and mitigation is concerned hence the need to reorganize our strategies in order to deal with disasters such as the current floods more effectively," Kioli said.

Kenya has enacted one of the most progressive legislations and policies to deal with climate change though the phenomenon continues to pose immense threat to the country’s ecological treasures, economy and livelihoods.

Kioli blamed weak enforcement, under-funding and limited public awareness for lethargic response to adverse impacts of climate change in the country.

"We could have averted deaths and destruction to our environment and physical infrastructure due to current floods if we invested in deterrent measures like reforestation, water harvesting and dredging of rivers and dams," said Kioli.

The East African nation has domesticated global climate treaties in a bid to accelerate low carbon development that is greener and inclusive.

The East African Nation has endorsed the Paris climate deal of 2015 which commits nations to redouble their contributions towards reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Kenya’s revised climate change response strategy says the country will double investments in renewable energy, reforestation and protection of water towers to reduce the frequency and intensity of droughts as well as floods.

As the country reels from devastating floods, experts are calling on the central and county governments to prioritize investments in long-term deterrent measures like construction of additional water storage facilities in semi-arid regions.

Robert Muthami, a Nairobi-based climate and social justice advocate, said that Kenya’s vulnerability to negative impacts of climate change remained profound, hence the need to devise new and robust coping mechanisms.

"The grassroots communities in particular have a higher level of vulnerability to recurrent drought cycles and flooding during rainy season.

"We must therefore come up with an ambitious strategy to strengthen our resilience as climate change disrupts livelihoods and health of ecosystems," said Muthami.

He stressed that Kenya’s ability to sustain inclusive growth, competitiveness and stability hinges on robust action on climate change.



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