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Government urges vigilance in the wake of El Nino rains warning

Early warning, monitoring and post assessment have been cited as key in mitigating possible adverse effects of the anticipated el-nino rains.  

A statement from the ministry of East African Community, the ASALs and regional development want counties and their partners to prepare adequately for the expected El Nino rains in October-November-December-January in the wake of warnings of above normal rains from the Kenya meteorological department.

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The preparations  include provision of early warning information to sectors, partners and communities from the Kenya Meteorological Department, development of likely scenarios, review and updating of sectoral contingency plans, sensitization of communities, construction of water-harvesting structures and provision of storage facilities as well as livestock vaccination against notifiable diseases.

Others are continuous monitoring and provision of early warning information, strengthening disaster communication monitoring of diseases outbreak, state of infrastructure, monitoring of national examinations with assessment of damage caused conducted at the end of the phenomenon.

The current forecast shows over 90% likelihood of an El Niño with above normal rainfall expected in various locations in coming days. Most of the arid and semi arid counties are expected to experience floods with  Marsabit, Turkana, Baringo, Samburu, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Mandera, Narok and Isiolo bearing the brunt. Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot are likely to experience landslides.

The ASALs are more vulnerable partly due to the terrain they occupy and the impact of five consecutive failed rain seasons that lasted until March this year, by which time livestock mortality had severely weakened the livelihoods of most communities.

The onset of El Niño leads to extensive crop damage, loss of livestock, damaged infrastructure and a possible spike in the incidence of cholera, malaria and rift valley fever due to poor sanitation and lack of potable water, particularly among populations threatened by flooding. El Niño is a climate phenomenon that affects the weather patterns around the world. In recent times, Kenya experienced El Niño in 1985, 1997 and 2015 with the 1997 incident recording the highest downpour to date.






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