Feeling the Pinch!

Today in Kenya many people are complaining of increased temperatures. In Nairobi it’s hot especially at night. I wonder what the people at the Coast and the Northern part of the country are feeling. This is totally unusual! Media coverage both print and electronic for the last weeks have highlighted cases of people suffering as a result of the increased temperatures. Those in the Metrological department say that at the moment Kenya is experiencing one of the highest temperatures in history. Experts further have predicted that weather for rest of the year is going to be equally hot. This is worrying considering the effects as of now.

Doctors have indicated their fears noting that the old, children and people with chronic diseases are likely to suffer most during this period as they struggle to cope with the harsh weather. Many families especially with young children have been appearing on different TV stations sharing their fears; children are getting sickly with the expensive medical services services.

It’s apparent that these rising temperatures are driven by global warming combined with natural variability leading to a greater chance of extreme weather events. The same doctors have offered tips to the members of the public on how to cope with the harsh weather including people not going outside between 11 am – 3pm. But I wonder how we can drive the economy ahead when we stay indoors, how can we put food on the table while locking ourselves indoors; climate change seems to be slowly but steadily enslaving us. The metrological department of Kenya director was last week quoted saying that “… the current situation shows how global warming can combine with smaller, natural fluctuations to push our climate to levels of warmth which are unprecedented in the data records,”

It was sad watching news last evening on TV and seeing an old helpless woman note that for her she doesn’t know what climate change is but she is aware of the weather changes taking place. She noted that the seasons are gone and life is becoming harder by day, they can no longer depend on the unpredictable rains for farming and that is totally impoverishing them as they depend on farming for survival.

From all these it’s clear that something must be done soon to manage the effects of climate change. The impacts of a warming world are already being felt by people around the globe. If climate change continues unchecked, these impacts are almost certain to get worse. From sea level rise to heat waves, from extreme weather to disease outbreaks, each unique challenge requires locally-suitable solutions to prepare for and respond to the impacts of global warming. Unfortunately, those who will be hit hardest and first by the impacts of a changing climate are likely to be the poor and vulnerable, especially those in the least developed countries as the case is now in Kenya. To move forward developed countries must take  leadership  in providing financial and technical help for adaptation.

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