Please follow and like us:

KENYA. TRA LE CONTESTAZIONI, WILLIAM RUTO ELETTO PRESIDENTEKenyaKENYA. FIRSTLY THE DROUGHT, THEN FLOODS!
(May 11th, 2024).

NAIROBI. In Kenya, firstly months of drought, then floods caused by exceptional rainfall which caused the flooding of rivers, the collapse of dams and bridges, and devastation in the countless slums surrounding the capital and other main towns.

According to a provisional toll, released in recent days by the authorities, at least 550 people lost their lives, 2 million displaced from their homes.

The President of the Republic William Ruto declared the state of emergency in 18 out of 47 counties and the closure of schools indefinitely: moreover, several educational institutions are flooded and can’t be used.

Similar problems are also reported in Tanzania (155 deaths), Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda: meteorologists fear that the situation will not return to normal for several weeks, with the result that damage and victims will only increase.

When the rains stop, there will be the risk of epidemics breaking out, caused, for example, by the decomposition of the carcasses of dead animals.

***

GUILTY, EL NIÑO!

According to some experts, the guilty, both of the drought and the torrential rains, is El Niño, which will inevitably be followed by La Niña.

This meteorological phenomenon, by heating the water of the Pacific Ocean, affects the climate of the entire planet: here it causes exceptional rainfall, there interminable droughts, as for instance, in southern Africa.

Reena Ghelani, assistant to the UN secretary general, delegate for climate crises, says that currently around 40-50 million people are affected by this emergency in at least 16 countries.

For the IMO (International Meteorological Organization) El Niño 2023-2024 is one of the five most powerful of the last decades.

***

UNPREPAREDNESS

Said that in East Africa the period from March to June is that of the “big rains”, while from October to December the “small rains” take place, events awaited by the populations who hope that the water will revitalize agriculture and favor harvests, what is happening however has dramatic implications in several respects:

• first of all, as already mentioned, there is a fear of the outbreak of epidemics: «In many parts of Kenya – Dr. Antonio Melotto of World Friends tells linkiesta.it – there are no sewage systems. With floods it’s easy for water to mix with sewage and transmit bacteria that cause diseases such as typhoid and cholera.”

• Secondly, the urban planning, for example of Nairobi, means that those who pay the highest price for these floods are the poorest poor: the Kenyan capital, in fact, is built on hills, like Rome, and the slums they arise in the valleys between one hill and another. consequently, the water get down onto the poor huts made of sheet metal and cardboard.

The government ordered the population of the slums to abandon their homes and to make their voices heard better, it sent the police, equipped with tear gas, to persuade the people to get out, but they literally don’t know where to go, taking into account who obviously fear losing everything, even those few things they managed to save.

• thirdly, the torrential rains of recent weeks have highlighted the unpreparedness of the region’s governments in the face of extreme climatic phenomena.

Human Rights Watch (HRW), for example, defines the measures taken by the executive as inadequate, as it was unable to prevent extreme climatic events, despite the warnings issued by the Kenyan Meteorological Department.

President Ruto has promised that new trees will be planted to fight global warming.

***

THE DEBATE

There is an ongoing debate among experts as to whether the floods, caused by catastrophic rainfall, are caused by the climate crisis resulting from the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere or whether it depends on local factors such as the IOD (Indian Ocean Dipole), a circulation of the waters of that sea which brings the warmer ones towards the eastern coasts of Africa.

According to the World Weather Attribution (WWA) which published a study on the “small rains” of 2023, these had a double intensity, caused by the 1.2 degree centigrade increase in average temperatures, resulting from the use of fossil fuels.

Furthermore, these extreme phenomena are increasingly frequent and serious, which puts at risk the ability of governments and humanitarian organizations to deal with ongoing emergencies.

For its part, the IPCC, the United Nations institution that studies climate science, states that global warming reduces the overall volume of rainfall in East Africa, but the intensity and frequency of extreme events increases, because a The warmer atmosphere retains more humidity and accumulates more energy: essentially, less water falls, but what comes down is more violent and devastating.

For this reason, in Nairobi, on 29 April, the African heads of government, meeting at a summit, asked the IDA (International Development Agency) of the World Bank to allocate at least 120 billion dollars to protect their economies from climate change .

PIER LUIGI GIACOMONI

Please follow and like us: