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Kenyas erratic climate change attributed to global warming

In Turkana's punishing terrain in northwestern Kenya, dry periods are getting longer, rainfall patterns are changing and water is scarce.

The temperature is hovering at around 45 degrees. Nearby, goats and sheep are scrambling for a place under a flat-topped acacia tree to shelter themselves from the sun's unforgiving rays.

Clad in traditional Turkana attire made from goat skin, Leshornai Lechipan points at his child, who is busy suckling from a goat, his lower lip pierced as is the custom.

John's main meal today is goat milk.

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On account of the acute food shortage, the 10-year-old has been forced to live on a diet of milk alone, straight from the goat's udder. The change in climate has heightened the level of poverty for the people of Turkana, who are already one of Kenya's poorest communities, living as they do in the country's arid northern region. His father Leshornai Lechipan says that things have changed for the family due to the erratic weather. Now life is becoming a daily struggle, as food and water are scarce.

Now I've been forced to give one of my goats to my son, who is 10 years old, so that he can suckle with the goat's newly born," Lechipan said. That way he'll have energy to look after the animals until evening falls," he explained.

Climate change threatens Kenya's Turkana communities

Food insecurity to increase with change in climate Under the intense heat, 48-year old Kigen counts his losses as he passes through a pathway littered with some of his dead animals. Together with over 20 other herders, he travelled from Baragoi to Kirisia about 80 kilometers after he heard news of small rain showers in that region.

Hope of encountering rain makes herders take their cattle on long trips On arrival at Kirisia, the group found no rain, just the dry Turkana land, scorched by the sun. According to a report by Human Rights Watch climate change, among other factors, is contributing to the Turkana people's lack of access to food and water.

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Rainfall patterns, the report adds, have become unpredictable, and average temperatures in the region have increased by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius. Human Rights Watch researcher Felix Horne says the food insecurity people are facing here is very likely to exacerbate. Drought in the Horn of Africa region The impact of the severe drought is also being felt beyond Turkana — in other parts of Kenya, and across Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia, where it's also led to a food crisis and severe cases of malnutrition.

It is not just the Turkana that are affected, but other indigenous peoples in the region as well. The WFP has provided urgent food aid to around 3. Climate scientists predict the worst of climate change is yet to come, with the world heading towards a global temperature rise of around three degrees celsius. Felix Horne from Human Rights Watch says warming temperatures will only accelerate desertification.

  1. With its arid northern savannahs, lush western forests and coastal lowlands, Kenya is on the frontline of the battle against climate change, and has been a pioneer in some areas. Ottichilo says action is urgent, citing the heavy seasonal rains that have pounded the country for several weeks after starting late in mid-April instead of mid-March.
  2. The temperature is hovering at around 45 degrees. Food insecurity to increase with change in climate Under the intense heat, 48-year old Kigen counts his losses as he passes through a pathway littered with some of his dead animals.
  3. Nearby, goats and sheep are scrambling for a place under a flat-topped acacia tree to shelter themselves from the sun's unforgiving rays. But President Goodluck Jonathan has not yet signed the bill into law.
  4. The ministry of the environment and mineral resources appears to have been one of the least active parties in the drafting of the bill. His father Leshornai Lechipan says that things have changed for the family due to the erratic weather.

Horne says that it's not too late to help these communities which are suffering from the unforgiving climate change. All hopes on Paris As countries gear up for the UN Climate Change Conference which kicks off November 30 in Paris, environment campaigners warn that if world leaders do not act to limit the global temperature rise, then some marginalized communities along the Horn of Africa may cease to exist.

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In Paris, a global climate change agreement is to be signed that is supposed to set the world on track to limit global warming to two degrees celsius by the end of the century. Without any changes to current trends, warming could go up by as much as five degrees.

While diplomats and politicians negotiate a climate agreement, the residents of Turkana fight to hang on to their centuries-old way of life, trying to cope with the difficulties imposed by living in a harsh and unpredictable environment.