Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:00 AM
Author: Pius Sawa
KAKAMEGA, Kenya (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A Kenyan government plan to increase the country's forest cover by giving local people incentives to plant and preserve trees is paying off, resulting in more productive farmers and a landscape better able to cope with the changing climate.
The Chairperson of the Working Group on Death Penalty and Extra-Judicial Killings in Africa (the Chairperson) is concerned about reports of the killing of innocent civilians in grenade attacks at various locations in Nairobi and Mombasa, including at a place of worship. The Chairperson is similarly concerned about the “drive-by” killing of Sheikh Abubakar Shariff in Mombasa earlier this month, and the killing of Ibrahim “Rogo” Omar and Aboud Rogo Mohammed in October 2013 and August 2012, respectively.
On the first of April, I walked with great sadness through the United Nations compound in Juba, capital of South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, now in free fall after a hopeful beginning three years ago. The compound is sheltering more than 21,000 displaced people who fled to safety after a spasm of violence in mid-December killed untold thousands.
In central Africa, a new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case was reported in Equatorial Guinea. In total, three cases have now been reported from the country; genetic sequencing indicates the cases are linked to an ongoing WPV1 outbreak in Cameroon. Outbreak response in the country is currently being planned.
The onset of the long rains season started earlier than normal on 13th of March 2014. The spartial and temporal distribution is poor especially in the Marginal mixed livelihood zone which has not received more than 3 wet days of rainfall. The Mixed livelihood zone had 5 to 7 wet days of rainfall.
Erratic rainfall was received in the month of March across Agro-pastoral and pastoral livelihood zones. The situation is below normal at this particular period of the year. The month was characterized by chilly temperature with cloud cover.
The onset of long rains was characterized by below average rainfall amounts.
Quality and quantity of browse and pasture is fair and improving when compared to the preceding month and is normal across the livelihood zones. Standing hay improved.
March-April-May (MAM) rainy season onset began in mid March. The onset was timely while its progress was slow and scanty as we proceed into the month of April. So far, good rains were realized for between 4 to 5 days in both Kieni East and West sub counties, besides an equivalent number of days of light rains during the month. Current rains were however below average compared to normal. Rainfall estimate for the month stood at 64.08mm, compared to the long term estimate of 93.51mm accounting for 68.5 percent of normal.
The County received 2 days of erratic rainfall in each of the second and third dekad which averaged 23.21mm.
The quality and quantity of browse and pasture was fair to poor but is expected to gradually improve if the rain continues.
The main sources of water for households were traditional river wells, natural rivers, pans/ dams, shallow wells, boreholes, Natural Ponds and Springs. Distances to water points for both households and livestock significantly decreased compared to February.
The long rains have started with light showers experienced in Hola Town, Bura, Garsen,Assa,Kipini and Chamwanamuma. These have made the current water stress to subside and vegetation cover has shown some signs of improvement. Temperatures have remained stable ranging between 30°C to 35°C
The county situation is returning to normal, following the onset of rains. Only the pastoral-all species livelihood zone has received a relatively low amount of rainfall as compared to others.
Regeneration of pasture and browse in areas that received showers in the 1st and 2nd weeks (10th -23th) was observed. Both quality and quantity of pastures and browse in all livelihood zones is improving.