Experts attribute deforestation, climate change to heavy rains in East Africa

By Checky Abuje


East African countries of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda among others are badly hit by flooding leading to the destruction of homes, infrastructure and lives.

As the result of the intensive and prolonged rainfall there is the rise in water levels of major water bodies and flooding in several areas of these countries, a replica of 1961 to 1964 and also 1996 to 1998 in Uganda and 1997 (Elnino Rains) in Kenya, where intense rainfall that resulted in the rise in the levels of rivers and Lakes below which no developments and settlements should be made.

According to meteorological expert Benjamin Bahati based in Busia Kenya, the horn of Africa has experienced high and abnormal temperatures with more energy in the Earth system resulting in unprecedented flooding.

However, considering the rise in water level in most of the water bodies and the flooding in several areas of East Africa, this has been attributed majority on among other things encroachment on wetlands, lakeshores, riverbanks, and forests, and poor land-use practices, and urgent actions need to be taken to avoid similar problems in future.

Speaking to Africa Science News, Bahati sounded an awakening call to nations noting that extreme effects of climate change lie ahead following the unfolding frequent hydrometeorological occurrences globally.

Bahati said that it is no doubt this the quick rise in water level has also been accelerated by human activities especially environmental degradation.

Loss of forest cover, encroachment on wetlands, lakeshores and riverbanks including poor land-use practices, which are fodder for climate change, resulting in soil erosion leading to siltation of our water bodies.

This has resulted in the speedy movement of water into the lakes and rivers with a lot of silt which has further reduced water storage capacities of our water bodies.

In a previous interview with Sam Cheptoris, Ugandan Minister of water and environment, the minister said urbanization has created highly impermeable surfaces like roads, roofs, pavements that have reduced water infiltration into the soil, interception and evapotranspiration capacity of forests and wetlands, creating room for flooding calamities on humanity.

Dr. Isaac Alukwe, Head of Environment and water resource docket in the county government of Busia Kenya alludes that the current situation of flooding in East Africa will negatively affect socio-economic activities which include huge mass floating islands that are a threat to hydropower infrastructure.

Settlements and developments around Lake Victoria and River Nile have been affected with many hotels, beaches and the individual house already flooded. A number of areas and essential features such as schools, health facilities and places of worship both churches and mosques have been destroyed.

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