An unknown number of people are reported dead and missing and several properties and roads destroyed after torrential rainfall that hit last weekend counties of West Pokot, Narok and Elgeyo-Marakwet in Western Kenya.
In neighbouring Uganda, similar heavy rains caused on April 13th a massive landslide followed by nationwide blackout after Owen Falls dam in Jinja, the country’s main power supply station was badly affected. These two extreme weather events which have hit the East African region amid the current coronavirus crisis remind us of the extreme vulnerability of the continent to climatic changes that have already caused food insecurity and water scarcity among other impacts.
These are clear signs that climate change is always knocking on our doors and we need to keep acting fast through our behavioural change, policymaking, mass sensitization on how we can best overcome this and establish best practises that reduce the impacts of climate change.
We need to keep building resistance against fossil fuel projects even more during this time since these activities have a huge impact on our climate. The science is clear: if we want to stay below 1.5 ° C of global warming, more than 80% of the already known fossil reserves must remain in the ground. That will involve the stopping of a new coal, gas or oil projects.
Despite the current challenges posed by COVID-19 crisis, we will keep pushing people from all walks of life, government officials and the private sector to work together to bring an end to the climate crisis. The two crises are interlinked and have highlighted once again the vulnerability of the African continent and the need and urgency to provide durable and appropriate solutions at all levels.
By Edwin Mumbere