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Turkana starts to develop climatic information systems 

County Executive for Tourism, Culture, Natural Resources and Climate Change Iris Francis Mariao on Monday opened a round table stakeholders’ and partners’ meeting to strategize on the development of the first Turkana County Climate Information System.

In the meeting held at a Lodwar Hotel, Mariao said that Turkana County is frequently affected by weather-related disasters, particularly droughts and flash floods, which have a profound impact on Turkana County economy and people’s well-being.

He appreciated REACH and the University of Nairobi for collaborating with the County Government to develop the climate system and implementing the Turkana County Climate Change Act, policy and the regulation.

CECM Mariao elaborated that the residents of Turkana community have been relying on conventional and traditional early warning systems, which have not been effective given the unpredictability of the weather as a result of increased climate variability in the region.

He further stated that some of the nomadic pastoralists in Turkana County are utilizing various traditional early warning methods to predict and manage drought effects.

He attributed this to the inability to access modern early warning systems due to poor communication, eroded drought predictability levels, misinformation on when the next drought will occur, lack of resources, and greater vulnerability margins.

The CEC indicated that the development of Turkana County Climate Information System would provide a proactive functioning early warning framework that would reenergize the early warning system in Turkana, recognize and integrate existing indigenous knowledge.

On his part, the County Director for Environment and Climate Change Clement Nadio indicated that the pastoral sector has been largely ignored in early warning systems.

He added that most of the systems are focused on monitoring rainfall and crop production and only a small degree of attention is paid to production determinants of the pastoral economy.

He explained that the new system would facilitate provision of easily accessible, timely and decision-relevant climate information that will help the society to cope with current climate variability.

Prof Ouma from REACH/UON indicated that the ability of Turkana County to respond effectively to climate change is dependent on its ability to understand and assess the vulnerability and impacts.

He promised to collaborate with the county in designing and developing an appropriate systems and processes for climate-related data collection and processing, public participation input, data storage and utilization.

The meeting was also attended by the County Director Meteorology Mr. Francis Muinda, NDMA – County Drought Coordinator Mr. Jillo Abdikadir and climate Sensitive sectors.

By Peter Gitonga

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