Thursday, October 15, 2009

Drought in Kenya

A few weeks back I wrote a post on how the African charcoal industry contributes to the climate change all over the world. I just want to include one phrase from that post, “Global warming means that many dry areas are going to get drier and wet areas are going to get wetter.” This very thing is happening in Kenya right now.

Turkana district in north-west Kenya is always dry to begin with, but now it is getting hotter and hotter. The temperature gets up to 40C and “the air coming through the car window feels like the blast from a load of hair-driers.” Where once rivers flowed now lie dry cracked surfaces and Lake Turkana is shrinking.

Because of such drought people who live in this area are losing their animals. Esther Ekouam has lost 40 out of her 100 goats in the one month. "Now the children are very weak because, as the animals are dying, they are not getting enough food. This is the worst drought we have had here since 1969."

Because people do not want to lose their money, they resort to selling their livestock for a lesser price then they are worth. The whole riverbank has been transformed as people butcher and sell their livestock. It is a sad site to see these people kill off the animals they depend on for meat and milk. “For a Turkana to bring their goats to slaughter is like putting their life on the line.” But goats are not the only animals that starve in this environment. Camels are dying as well, "A camel is the most resistant and it is their last resort. When they are slaughtering camels it is like throwing away the pension." “Between March and October, a total of 15,000 goats and sheep as well as 500 cattle have been slaughtered in central and southern Turkana.”

Another implication of the drought is theft of livestock as people are trying to build up their own herds. “In late September 26 people were killed in one raid. In the village of Lobeli, about 80 km south-west of Lodwar town, Turkana herdsmen are engaged in twin battles against drought and livestock theft.” Another herdsman had 6,000 goats stolen from him.

Joseph Elim of the Riam Riam Organization said "Scientifically we may not know about climate change but we can interpret the weather patterns and say something significant has shifted. We can no longer predict the rainfall patterns. Temperatures have also increased as well as diseases. And when rainfall comes we get floods. If that is what is called climate change then it is here with us now."

Here are the first fruits of the climate change in Africa! I hope that the African leaders will read this story and start doing something to prevent further destruction of Africa’s forests.

1 comment:

  1. I would definately agree we are having a very wet season here in the middle of the U.S. Weather predictions here are calling for a very cold and snowy season as it has already snowed in some parts of Western U.S. That's what seems so silly though, about doing anything to change such a huge thing like climate. Climate was here before humans so on such a grand scale I think it is a drop in the bucket that we as mere humans have anything to do with it. Very nice post. I can not even imagine what it would be like to live through a drought. The struggle just to survive is heartbreaking. Thanks for posting