Kenya’s frequent flooding calls for measures to tame climate change

Flooded homes are seen at Mukuru-Kayaba slum

Flooded homes are seen at Mukuru-Kayaba slum in South B on April 21, 2024.  

Photo credit: Sammy Kimatu | Nation Media Group

Kenya, a nation that has been grappling with severe geological and climatic challenges, has shown remarkable resilience in the face of adversity.

The country experienced devastating floods in late 2023 due to the El Niño phenomenon, a stark reminder of its vulnerability to extreme weather conditions amplified by global climate change.

These floods, while causing significant damage to the landscape and economy, also showcased the strength and determination of the Kenyan people as they rallied together to overcome these challenges.

The persistent rainfall that followed a period of drought showcased the drastic swings in weather patterns that the country now frequently faces. This situation has created an urgent need for integrated strategies that combine climate science and strategic economic planning. These experts are at the forefront of developing systems that can withstand drought and flood conditions, ensuring monetary stability and security.

In September 2023, Nairobi hosted the 11th Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa, organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. The conference highlighted Africa's minimal contribution to global warming but its high vulnerability to its impacts.

It became a platform for discussing the need for enhanced climate resilience and robust adaptation measures to safeguard African economies against climate extremes' increasing severity and frequency.

The recent catastrophic events in Kenya emphasise the crucial role of climate scientists in developing sustainable and resilient infrastructures. The insights gained from these severe weather events are invaluable, guiding recovery efforts and future preparedness strategies to better cope with the unpredictability of climate change.

As Kenya continues to recover and rebuild, the lessons learned from the floods of 2023 should influence future policies and infrastructure development, aiming to forge a more resilient and sustainable future.

It highlights the importance of understanding the dynamics of climate change and supporting proactive measures to mitigate the impacts of future climate-related disasters.

It's a clarion call for all stakeholders, from policymakers to community leaders, to unite and address the multifaceted challenges posed by our changing climate.

The floods of 2023 underscored the need for collective action and shared responsibility. For policymakers and the general public alike, understanding these dynamics and supporting proactive measures are essential to mitigate the impacts of future climate-related disasters.

As the global climate continues to change, the stakes only get higher for nations like Kenya, where the frequency and severity of weather events constantly remind us of our shared vulnerability and common fate in the face of climate change.

The writer is a professional geologist and a registered geoscientist in Canada.

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