Kenya weatherman urges calm

July 22, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 22 – The Kenya Meteorological Services has said there is no cause for alarm over reports of a possible El Nino season in September.

Director Joseph Mukabana said on Tuesday that although the United States Weather Service had reported warming up in the equatorial pacific off the coast of Equador and Peru which was associated with El Nino, the signals were not yet strong enough.

“Of significance is the sea surface temperature off the Coast of Indian Ocean. When it warms and we have an El Nino then we have significant rainfall in Kenya,” Dr Mukabana said.

“Early September we are going to release the information, so we will monitor and then give advisory,” he added.

He however said not all El Nino years were associated with heavy rainfall.

The 1997-1998 El Nino rains in Kenya caused heavy flooding and landslides leaving thousands of people displaced.

Speaking to Capital News Dr Mukabana advised Kenyans to remain calm as the situation was still being monitored.

“The signal becomes more significant in September but there is some indication,” he said.

“There are precautions that will be taken if we have heavy rains. We know the hot spots like Budalangi where there is heavy flooding and Central Kenya where we experience landslides.”

Meanwhile, the government intends to come up with a fully budgeted National Climate Change Response Strategy in the next five months.

Environment Minister John Michuki said the policy would be ready by December to be presented to a two weeks high level climate change meeting in Copenhagen.

He said the current policies, laws and regulations were not well developed to tackle climate change hence the need for a comprehensive climate change policy.

“We shall market that response because scientists say there are about 62 billion tones of carbon dioxide eating into the O-zone layer and the more it is eaten, the more the heat reaches us and the best way to reduce carbon dioxide is to plant trees,” said the Minister.

He also directed that all land owners set aside 10 percent of their land for tree planting.

“The 10 percent will include even planting fruit trees that will provide cover and we will begin by persuasion as we look for the discarded laws. And if there are none in place we will go to parliament,” he said.

“People think this matter of climate change is just something for us to be sitting here and talking about. It requires a lot of activities out there,” he added.

The Minister reiterated that responding to Climate Change was a priority both for Kenya and the entire world.

He noted that the effects of climate change were wrecking havoc not only on human and animal health but on agriculture, water supplies, transport, tourism and hydropower generation.

He said Kenya would adequately prepare its strategy and position for the Copenhagen climate change talks, align with the East African Community position, statements adopted by the African Ministerial Conference on Environment and position adopted by the Summit of Heads of States at their recent meetings.


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