Environmentalists seek better weather services

by Rosalia Omungo

Environment ministers and meorological experts across the globe are meeting in Nairobi to discuss ways in which to improve weather forecast services in the African continent.

This is the first conference of ,ministers responsible for meteorology in Africa, and Deputy Director of the World Meteorological Organisation Jeremiah Lengoasa, underscored the importance of weather services.

It has an impact on the ecosystem and fragile infrastructure of the African continent. It affects all sectors of activity from agriculture and food security and public health and water resource management,” he told participants at the opening of the conference at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in the Kenyan capital.

The meeting comes at a time when the country is experiencing extreme weather conditions. According to reports from the Kenya Red Cross Society seven people have been reported dead in the past two weeks as a result of massive floods across the country.

But each time such calamities occur, weather men are often been blamed for wrong weather predictions.

Environment assistant minister Ramadhan Kajembe who officially opened the conference, decried the poor investment in the service, noting that increased investments will enable efficiency and better delivery of metrological services.

Meteorological services as the custodians of the requisite climate data, need to be equipped with the current state of the art technology to be able to monitor , process and provide early warnings. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many African countries,” he said.

Kajembe blamed poor policies and regulations for the continued challenges of climate change in Kenya.

“Monitoring, prediction and timely early warning of extreme climate events is one of the strategies for mitigating the negative impacts of such events and also for taking advantage of the good years,” he added.

He said making the Kenya Meteorological Department a semi-autonomous institution will enable revenue collection, but also urged the weathermen to simplify their data to make ease its usage.

The four day conference is expected to come up with ways of addressing challenges of meteorological services in Africa as a whole.

http://www.kbc.co.ke/story.asp?ID=63296

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