Mombasa and other parts of the Kenyan Coast could disappear under the sea in the next 20 years. In a new report by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), experts have warned that the Coast as we know it today will be no more in two decades as a result of rising ocean waters due to global climate change. And the Cabinet Secretary for Water and Environment Judy Wakhungu says evidence of submergence of the coastline and wave erosion is already beginning to show in Watamu and Ngomeni in the north Coast. Besides this, she said entire swathes of land on the mainland are now being laid to waste by intrusion of salt waters from the sea.
Addressing delegates on the World Environment Day in Magarini, Kilifi County on Friday, Prof Wakhungu quoted a recent IPCC report showing that coastal habitats and small islands are facing an aggravated threat from rising seas as a result of climate change.
“The report projects the complete submergence of Mombasa Island in 20-50 years if no appropriate measures are put in place,” said Wakhungu adding: “There will also be an increased intrusion of saline sea water landwards while prolonged droughts and water scarcity will persist, resulting in reduced generation of hydro-electric power.” The CS said low-lying inland areas like Lamu and Tana River are increasingly becoming vulnerable to flooding and intrusion by saline water. Wakhungu said in an effort to protect Ngomeni village from wave erosion, the Coast Development Authority has built a 300-metre protection wall on the sea front.
The CS said global cooperation is needed urgently to combat climate change caused by increased carbon emissions. According to the CS, the report further says there will be drastic reduction of crop production especially tea, maize and coffee while livestock farmers will be forced to embrace lower producing but heat-tolerant breeds. Wakhungu said even though the IPCC had recommended some mitigation efforts to limit the effects of climate change, these could have an adverse effect on the country resources, including the recently discovered oil in Turkana County.
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