28-11-2021 di redazione
The plight of Kenya, held up as an international example of a nation with great potential and prospects but at the same time struggling with unsustainable development, aggravated by the climate crisis and emissions, held centre stage at the recent Glasgow conference on safeguarding the planet.
Within the country there are many different issues that pertain to the geophysics of the land, water sources and above all ongoing deforestation.
One of these regions is undoubtedly Tana River County, which has suffered progressive calamities over the last half century, including droughts and floods, and now has to do with deforestation and smuggling.
The county's mortality rate coupled with climate change is one of the highest on the entire continent.
Annual losses of homes and infrastructure related to inclement weather amount to about 2 billion shillings, of which the county itself only manages to cover a quarter to deal with disasters and emergencies.
With a population of over 370,000 people, it is estimated that at least 100,000 are affected every time a weather-related disaster hits the area. Destroying crops and killing livestock, each disaster is estimated to reduce the economic stability of affected families by more than 60%, each time relegating at least 2,000 new families to surviving on less than a dollar a day.
One of the possible solutions to curb this phenomenon was recently introduced by Governor Dhadho Godhana. It is the concept of ecovillages.
The ecovillages would be settlements of about 6,000 citizens, modern "clusters" that would include safe housing, schools, health dispensaries, food and industrial production areas, an open-air market with wells in every area. Real towns, perhaps a little aseptic, but certainly propaedeutic.
"The governor explained to the Daily Nation newspaper, 'It is a human-scale, comprehensive settlement in which human activities are well integrated to support healthy human development. The goal of ecovillages is to eradicate poverty and ensure the integration of all basic human needs.
The sustainability of the project should be based on the use of locally sourced materials, using sustainable technologies and infrastructure, and directing the work towards the restoration and protection of the natural environment.
There could be between 14 and 18 villages to be moved from at-risk areas into ecovillages, to protect the 100,000 or so souls under climate constraint.
Obviously the county, as Godhana confirms, does not have the funds to support the entire project, but it is assessing the feasibility of a pilot village, Handampia, where work has already begun on roads, small irrigation schemes, electricity connection and water supply systems.
"We are waiting for possible private partners and organisations to realise the value of our project in perspective," Godhana said.
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