HEAR OUR VOICES: How climate change is hurting us

[Kenya] Nelly Damaris Chepkoskei, a farmer from the tea growing district of Kericho in the western highlands of Kenya. [Date picture taken: 11/16/2006]
Nelly Damaris Chepkoskei, a farmer from Kericho in the western highlands of Kenya. (Ann Weru/IRIN)

Nelly Damaris Chepkoskei from Kericho in the western highlands of Kenya talks of the increasing malaria cases in her home area. Captain Juma Macharia from North Kinangop in Kenya’s Rift Valley says he is finding it harder to farm and take care of his livestock, and Rajab Ahmed Sasero from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, laments the decreasing fish stock in the Indian Ocean.

The three, who were attending the United Nations global climate change conference in Nairobi last week, concur on one issue - African countries remain the most vulnerable to climate change, whose effects are manifested in extreme weather conditions, ranging from prolonged drought to massive flooding. To Chepkoskei, Macharia and Sasero, climate change has hit where it hurts most – their livelihoods.


[Kenya] Captain Juma Macharia, a farmer and livestock keeper from the northern Kinangop area of Kenya’s Rift Valley region. [Date picture taken: 11/16/2006]

Ann Weru/IRIN
[Kenya] Captain Juma Macharia, a farmer and livestock keeper from the northern Kinangop area of Kenya’s Rift Valley region. [Date picture taken: 11/16/2006]
http://www.irinnews.org/
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
[Kenya] Captain Juma Macharia, a farmer and livestock keeper from the northern Kinangop area of Kenya’s Rift Valley region. [Date picture taken: 11/16/2006]

Captain Juma Macharia, a farmer and livestock keeper from the northern Kinangop area of Kenya’s Rift Valley region.

Chepkoskei: "I first saw a mosquito in Kericho in 1982. But today the area has developed into a mosquito breeding ground. Many people are increasingly being infected with malaria. It is especially difficult for the women as they do most of the work picking tea from the farms. When will they engage in economic activities if they spend all their time acting as nurses for their ailing families?

"Some expectant women are also dying because of malaria. I think what kills them is not malaria but other opportunistic diseases. I cannot explain what malaria is as I see people with different problems like anaemia or diarrhoea and we are told they have malaria.

"Tea production has also gone down as we did not have rain between October 2005 and April 2006. We used to harvest 32 to 35 bags of tea per hectare but this has dropped to between 10 and 15. Maize prices have also gone up as we are not sure when to plant due to the unpredictable rains; those who harvest first share with the others as we live in extended families. Life is becoming difficult for us even when we use good farming technologies."

Macharia: "The air used to be very clean and we did not have the problems we are having today. Sometimes it is too hot so that one does not want to get out of bed and farm. But most of the time there is frost, which is affecting our crops. Farming has also been affected because people are planting trees that are using up all the water supplies.


[Kenya] Rajab Ahmed Sasero, a fisherman from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. [Date picture taken: 11/16/2006]

Ann Weru/IRIN
[Kenya] Rajab Ahmed Sasero, a fisherman from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. [Date picture taken: 11/16/2006] ...
http://www.irinnews.org/
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
[Kenya] Rajab Ahmed Sasero, a fisherman from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. [Date picture taken: 11/16/2006] ...

Rajab Ahmed Sasero, a fisherman from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

"When you plant them on your farm after a while you can no longer grow any crops, even pasture for the livestock does not grow where these trees are planted. In the past we had indigenous trees that grew naturally. We did not cut them down for charcoal; we collected the dead wood on the ground. Today people are cutting these trees and causing these problems.

"I feel even more sorry for people in drought-prone northeastern Kenya who are having a harder time than us. I think the government should ask everyone to plant indigenous trees and protect the ones that are left."

Sasero: "I came to Dar es Salaam in 1964. At the time, the ocean was far away but now it is moving closer to where we live. We do not understand why this is happening. Sometimes the tide is stronger than it used to be and it is destroying even big tourist hotels and other infrastructure.

"The waters are also causing soil erosion of the coastal areas. When the waves subside, they carry soil with them. This is affecting fishing for us as the soil interferes with the fish breeding grounds. We now have to go out further in the ocean to catch fish. The threat of the ocean encroaching on us has also increased. If the world does not act to change this situation, the effects will be worse for us."

aw/mw


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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