Surprise rains hit Nairobi amidst growing hunger

A heavy downpour today surprised the city of Nairobi as the Kenyan government launched an international appeal for food aid to save millions of Kenyans.

Nairobi city seen at dawn. Picture by Tobias Buckell

Nairobi city seen at dawn. Picture by Wikipedia

The rains were welcomed by a populace grappling with water rationing and rising food prices following months of dry weather. Rains were reported in Mombasa as well.

In spite of this reprieve from a harsh summer, the rains come too late to save food crops. Most of the maize has withered in farms across the country, especially east of the Great Rift Valley.

With at least 10 million people in danger of starvation, President Mwai Kibaki today led an international appeal for food aid. Currently, the Government and World Food Programme are feeding 1.4 million people under the emergency operation programme. Another 1 million people are also fed through direct Government interventions.

The government needs 37 billion Kenya Shillings (US$468 million) for emergency food requirements, support to schools and for agricultural and livestock interventions.

Meteorologists warn that this off-season rain is temporary since January and February are normally dry months. Incidentally, it was just a few day ago that meteorologists told Kenyans not to expect rains any time soon.

Kenya is suffering the vagaries of climate change. Weather patterns have become erratic, moving from extremes of drought and flooding. Destruction of the country’s forests has worsened the situation. Forests help attract rain clouds, protect soil from erosion and contribute to the flow of rivers.

Currently, forest cover in Kenya has declined to less than 1.5% of the country’s land mass compared to the minimum 10% recommended by the United Nations.

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3 Responses

  1. While I appreciate that you attributed the picture, I got it from the wikipedia entry on Nairobi. If you’re able to change the attribution, I don’t want to take credit for something I didn’t do!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nairobi

  2. Well this is a blessing but will the rains sustain till end of April. But for sure the water is welcome as the animals will have enough water to drink.

  3. Thanks Tobias, We’ve changed the photo attribution accordingly.

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