Stories

Urban poor most affected by Climate Change

For a long time, environmentalists have been accused by development enthusiasts of being anti-development. It is hard to escape the tension between developers and environmental preservation advocates.

Most cities in Africa, Kampala inclusive, are experiencing more heat waves. This has been attributed to the diurnal cycles of absorption and re-radiation of solar energy as well as heat generated from buildings. The increased frequency of heat-stress events in cities has affected the health and leisure among the urban population.

According to Ms Anna Tibaijuka, the UN Habitat executive director, urban areas are key to tackling global warming as they account directly for 50 to 60 per cent of human greenhouse gas emissions. She said in African slums, one in three slum dwellers is considered an environmental refugee.

The conventional challenges of urban environmental management have resulted in immense environmental effects such as degradation of green spaces and increased green house gas (GHG) emissions. This is evident from the poor management of waste; emitting methane gas if it is organic or carbon dioxide if it is burnt. Road transport emits more than 70 per cent of GHGs and buildings 30 per cent of GHGs.
With such impacts of Climate Change on urban areas, the urban poor are at most risk since they live in the most hazardous environments such as flood plains.

For developing countries, adaptation to climate change is already happening. In Kampala City, for instance, households raise beds by adding bricks on the floor to keep their beddings from getting wet incase it floods. Yet in developed cities, people are being protected against risks associated with Climate Change through public investment in infrastructure.

During a meeting on Climate Change meeting in Oslo in Norway recently, Florence Namayanja, deputy Kampala mayor, said investment in drainage infrastructure in the city will be crucial and will require huge amount of money. However, the key to adaptation is having a competent, capable and accountable urban government that understands Climate Change adaptation measures.

And for adaptation to yield results, all urban government departments have to be involved. In the case of Kampala, the city authority has to strengthen its environmental management department and co-ordinate well with the Climate Change unit, National Environment Management Authority and civil society organisations. After all, Climate Change is no longer an issue relegated to just one minister, one ministry or a few institutions. It is now a holistic concern.

We have policies such as the Forestry Policy (2001) that calls for urban forestry. Why don’t we start implementing such strategies to combat Climate Change?

Source: Josephat Ntegeka; The Daily Monitor, 21st May 2009; www.monitor.co.ug

Arrow Web Hospital - Keeping Kenya Polio Free

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Arrow Web Hospital expects to vaccinate 1500 children from May 23rd-May 27th.

In April, the hospital vaccinated 470 children, but for this second round of vaccinations, the hospital is expecting to vaccinate around 1500 total children under the age of 5 years as part of Kenya's campaign to "Keeping Kenya Polio Free."

Polio is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that lives in the human intestines. It can also be found in human feces. The virus is primarily spread by contact with the feces of an infected person-such as when changing diapers. It can also be spread through contaminated food and water in areas where there are poor sanitation systems. Once the virus enters the body, it multiplies in the throat and intestines. It travels through the bloodstream and infects the brain and spinal cord. Paralysis occurs because of this attack on the nervous system, destroying the nerves that send messages from the brain and muscles. Vaccination is the best way to prevent polio, but once infected there is no cure.

Help "Keep Kenya Polio Free" by bringing your children, or telling others to bring their children to be vaccinated. The hospital vaccinated 218 children on day 1. Here are some pictures of those impacted by our efforts.

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