Climate change experts have underscored that a significant 70 per cent of global disasters stem from the effects of climate change.
These experts highlight that climate change contributes to heightened heat waves, droughts, insect infestations, leading to more frequent and severe wildfires.
They noted that the current global warming climate is responsible for declining water supplies, diminished agricultural yields, and heat-related health issues.
During a press briefing in Bungoma, Professor Josephine Ngaira, a climatologist from Masinde Muliro University said the effects of climate change can further be attributed to incidences like landslides, disease outbreaks and droughts, which in turn lead to food scarcity and starvation.
She said the recent food insecurity in the country is a direct result of climate change, underscoring the impact on Kenya's population, where 40 per cent live below the poverty line.
Ngaira revealed that Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology has joined forces with Kenya Redcross and Bungoma County for extensive climate change research.
Her sentiments were echoed by Jane Mukonambi, the Bungoma County climate change director, who said climate change is a global issue requiring collaborative research efforts to devise effective mitigation strategies.
“Climate change is something that has created negative impacts both on human lives and animals globally. This is why we have come up with this partnership to see how we can mitigate it,” she said.
Mukonambi said the county has established climate change policy and finance frameworks, including a climate change funds act to support regional initiatives.
The collaboration between the county government, MMUST, and Red Cross aims to research climate change and its impacts.
“We have to bring other partners in place to help us do research to help address the climate change issues in the region,” said Mkonambi.
To foster community understanding of climate change, Mukonambi highlighted the formation of climate change planning committees in all 45 Bungoma wards. Additionally, the county features a climate change steering committee led by the governor, overseeing funding approaches.
The climate expert emphasized that the research will primarily occur at the university level, with other institutions joining the effort. The County climate change 2023-2027 action plan encompasses key actions to address the challenges.
“Climate change directorate being a new in the county, the action plan will be launched soon to allow every partner to understand more about what should be done to mitigate the climate change,” she said.
Bungoma County Redcross Chairman, Dr. Ferdinand Nabiswa, attributed the rise of jigger infestations in the county to climate change impacts. He alerted the community to upcoming El Niño rains in October, stressing the importance of awareness.
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Governor Kenneth Lusaka expressed the county's commitment to proactive climate change measures, aligning with UN sustainable development goal 13. This dedication focuses on climate resilience and sustainable practices to mitigate climate change consequences.