Connect with us

News

Why Kenya’s Rift Valley lakes are going through a crisis | News

Published

on


Rift Valley, Kenya – It was seven years ago when Job Chebon, owner of a tourist lodge on the edge of Lake Baringo, first noticed the waters near his property rise dangerously.

“The water would come and then recede. For years, it would come a little bit further to dry land, to our homes, then go back,” he said earlier in August, standing on a sandbag leading to the flooded reception lobby of his Soi Safari Lodge – at least, what remains of it.

“In 2020, it has come with a vengeance.”

The rising waters of Lake Baringo in the Great Rift Valley have dealt a heavy blow to tourism, a key sector in this part of Kenya.

Chebon said he had lost thousands of dollars in accommodation fees and damage to his property, while several other hotels in the region have also been either totally or partially submerged.

The tourism sector of the region has taken a huge hit [Daniel Munene/Al Jazeera]

Elizabeth Meyerhoff, an anthropologist, who along her husband Murray Roberts, has been studying the lake since 2013, said the water level has been rising at about 2.5cm (0.98 inches) a day.

“In the last seven years, [it] has raised to about 9-12 metres (30-39 feet).”

The couple, who live next door to Chebon’s lodge, have also been running a programme aimed at rehabilitating semi-arid environments by producing dry land seed which they have already distributed to more than 900 farmers.

Almost all the land where the grass, mostly meant for grazing was planted, is underwater. The couple’s stores, offices and a dispensary have had a similar fate.

“The water comes from the rivers, but because of deforestation it’s bringing down huge amount of flash flooding with sediments which fill the bottom of the lake,” said Meyerhoff, after a tour on a boat – a mode of transport that is the new norm in these parts of Baringo.

Climate change and unusually heavy rains this year have also contributed to the problem.

The rising waters have displaced more than 5,000 people in 2020, according to government officials, submerging homes, schools, roads, hospitals, farmland – and even entire islands.

aerial pics of Lake Baringo

The rising waters of Lake Baringo have displaced thousands of people, submerging homes, roads and farmland among others [Daniel Munene/Al Jazeera] 

“This island was whole, we could move around,” said Nongaseuria Lenaisiaku, an elderly lady who has had to relocate to higher ground twice after Kokwa Island was split into three parts.

“Now the water has separated us from our relatives. I don’t even have a boat take me to other parts of the village.”

Nearby, in Rugus, another fishing village of mud-thatched huts, Singh Lenapunya was seated on his raft – scaling fish he had just caught. He acknowledged that the rising waters have brought along plenty of fish – but also crocodile and hippos. A herdsman was recently killed by a crocodile.

Lake Bogoria rising

However, it is not just Lake Baringo and its dependents that are in trouble.

Further to the south, Lake Bogoria – a World Heritage site which at times hosts up to 1.2 million flamingoes – has also been rising. Just a few years ago, Baringo and Bogoria – freshwater and alkaline lakes, respectively – were 20km (12 miles) apart, but local officials say that distance has now been cut to 13km (eight miles).

Located on an eponymous national reserve, Lake Bogoria is a significant tourist attraction, whose hundreds of bird species and beautiful landscape, as well as geysers and hot springs, draw visitors from many parts of the world.

aerial pics of Lake Baringo

Lake Bogoria is a major tourist attraction [Chaterine Wambua-Soi/Al Jazeera]

According to James Kimaru, the game reserve’s senior warden, the lake has expanded from 34 square kilometres in 2017 to 43 square kilometres in 2020.

“Almost 80 percent of the hot springs are under water, especially the main ones which were shooting almost three metres up,” said Kimaru. “They used to be our main tourist attraction but now the number of visitors has reduced. The main road, the gate to our reserve and our offices are under water – we have to move for a second time. The hospital, hotels and homes adjacent to the reserve are also submerged.”

Meanwhile, there are growing concerns about the swamps between the lakes. Both Meyerhoff and Kimaru said if the alkaline water from Bogoria reached the swamps which link to Baringo’s freshwater – it would be an ecological disaster.

With both lakes having no known channels that allow the flow of excess water, some scientists have suggested building a barrier between them. Others have recommended constructing a canal for water to flow out of Lake Baringo, which is rising faster. They say the water can be channelled through a natural course outlet further north.

It is still unclear, however, what the effect of such a move would be on Kenyan farmers and pastoralists downstream, as well as the lake itself.

Government officials told Al Jazeera they are examining these suggestions, while also carrying out a study to find out whether there are other reasons why the lakes are rising so fast to determine safe solutions to protect them and the millions of people whose lives are at stake.

Back in Soi Safari Lodge, Chebon said he is afraid that it is only a matter of time before his entire property – and with it, his entire livelihood – is swept away by the rising waters.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

News

Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million

Published

on

Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

Continue Reading

News

2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe

Published

on

By


A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.



Source – observer.ug

Continue Reading

News

Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News

Published

on

By


Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

Continue Reading

Trending