Tame rising lakes danger

What you need to know:

  • Also submerged are schools and other basic infrastructure including roads.

There has been no respite from the adverse effects of the rising Rift Valley lakes for the people living or doing business near their shores.

Access roads have been swamped and businesses flooded, destroying jobs and a source of livelihood for the investors in tourism and other sectors. Also submerged are schools and other basic infrastructure including roads.

Late last year, a group of scientists were deployed to examine the real causes and come up with mitigation measures. It is not clear whether their report is ready, but this is an indication of the grave concern at the highest level about a looming natural disaster.

In Baringo County, where tourism had been flourishing, hotels are under water, after two major lakes and others burst their banks as a result of deforestation, tectonic shits, heavy rainfall, and climate change.

Experts have been warning that the rising lake levels are an ecological catastrophe in the making. Wild animals, snakes, and crocodiles are struggling to cope with the drastic change in their habitats.

Soil erosion

The culprits include the destruction of catchment areas, heavy grazing and soil erosion, and unusually heavy rains, with a huge amount of runoff.

The impact is being felt beyond the lakes and into the national parks. Businesses are being driven further away from the lakeshores, at a huge relocation cost and losses to the owners.

The Lake Victoria region has also not been spared the devastating climatic changes. People living near the shores have had their homes and businesses swamped by the rising water levels.

In the Rift Valley, trillions will have to be spent on mitigation measures, as riparian land has been submerged and thousands displaced.

Roads, homes, social amenities, grazing land, farmland, fish landing and processing facilities, electricity poles, and water supply systems have been affected.

Natural habitats have been destroyed, increasing the human-wildlife conflict. There is an urgent need for concerted measures to avert a deadly humanitarian crisis.

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