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Drought in Kenya

Avatar Student, Writer, Scientist, Kenya's Ambassador to Tunza Eco-Generation and W.Y.A. member.
Yvonne Wabai
Member since November 8, 2015
  • 31 Posts
  • Age 23

Kenya is facing drought. The last time we had adequate amounts of rainfall was last year's long rain season, March to May. To understand how serious this is, you first have to understand the seasons in Kenya.

We have four seasons: hot and dry season from December to February, long rains season from March to May, cold and wet season from June to August and lastly, short rains season from September to October.

It is also important to note that agriculture is the backbone of our economy. Planting season coincides with the long rains season and many farmers, both subsistence farmers and commercial farmers, had already prepared their lands and planted seeds in early March and all that was left was the rain to fall.

Because the amount of rain received was not sufficient, a lot of crops dried up in the fields. Additionally, many livestock keepers, especially nomadic pastoralists, lost their livestock to the drought. Subsequently, our economy took a large hit. We hoped that the short rains seasons would bring enough rain to get the agricultural sector back to its feet.

However, the meteorological department warned us that the short rains may fail too because weather patterns indicated a regional drought. And true to form, the short rains weren't that great either. The situation now is so dire that the government of Kenya is set to import yellow maize for the first time since 2011 to supplement our own stocks of food in the silos.

In addition to the food crisis, we also have a water crisis on our hands. Water rationing programs are already in effect. As I write this, all Kenyans are holding their breath and praying that this coming long rains season will bring plenty of rain. Our hopes are high as we have seen night-long rainfall in the last two days.

However, I'm just as concerned as I am hopeful. As you probably know, Kenya is home to UNEP. You would expect a nation home to a major environmental organization would be better prepared to deal with natural disasters and catastrophes such as drought. The thing is, we are prepared, at least with information. Money-wise, we have seen corruption sky-rocket to new heights this past few years. In fact, Kenya has been ranked the 3rd most corrupt country in the world.

It is clear that we as a country need to deal with the situation at hand before, pardon the doom, it destroys us all. The situation currently seems bleak and a majority of the citizens are not hopeful that a change will come. However, in the true spirit of Kenya, we haven't given up and many Kenyans have been attending anti-corruption/anti-graft conferences as well as environmental conferences in order to gain awareness, educate themselves and to keep the good fight going. Going forward, I'm hoping that the situation will improve.

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