Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Mapping climate change vulnerability in East African urban settings

While the urbanization comes at a price, especially in an era of increased risk of natural disasters, there is a need for users of urban infrastructure to  keep safety in mind since the phenomenon of flooding and global warming  has greatly increased over recent years in  several major cities across the East African region.

In the past 10 years, I wrote a feature story about the cost of modernization in the Rwandan capital city Kigali, for one UN Humanitarian news agency.  At the time, I intended to follow up with a series of news focusing on this  particular topic, but I had changed my opinion for various reasons. 

First of all , the majority of  urban infrastructure's users are likely unaware' of climate change, and it has emerged that in a move to mitigate these urban vulnerabilities, the sole option is not only to provide relief for poor urban dwellers, but also to disseminate information about climate change and variability and their impacts.
"Flooding is a major problem in some suburbs of Kigali city, because of intense seasonal rainfall, and it has been demonstrated that Kigali like many other tropical cities across the East African region are facing severe global warming issues and since the repetitive flooding have destroyed roads and bridges while isolating areas within different cities."

At the time flood hazard mapping is being considered as another option to delineate the hazard urban which communicate risks areas, it is also important to reduce exposure of people living in high risk zones by relocating them to an area that is less vulnerable to such occurrence.

At several occasions, the flash floods of Kigali has cause significant social and economic life especially during rainy seasons in the city where by some transports routes got blocked by high speed waters.

One effective way to reduce exposure of urban residents to flood is also about sharing knowledge in the field of disaster prevention for decision-making partly due to the existing communication gap at local level.

By addressing these challenge, current urbanization efforts should result in the rapid economic growth and contribute to the social welfare of city dwellers. (END) 

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