Kenya And Africa Serverely Unwarned Of Weather Disasters

Kenya, the host of the Africa Climate Summit, is one of the few African countries with a relatively well-developed weather service.

According to the National Treasury, Kenya has budgeted $12 million for its meteorological service this year. In comparison, the US National Weather Service requested $1.3 billion in funding for fiscal year 2023.

The vast majority of the continent’s 54 nations are underserved and unwary.

“Despite covering one-fifth of the world’s total land area, Africa has the least developed and deteriorating land-based observation network of any continent,” the WMO stated in 2019.

After Cyclone Idai ripped into central Mozambique in 2019, residents said they received little or no warning from authorities. More than 1,000 people were killed, some swept away by floodwaters as loved ones clung to trees.

Idai was the costliest disaster in Africa, at $1.9bn, in the period from 1970 to 2019, according to a WMO report on weather extremes and economic and personal tolls.

The lack of weather data in much of Africa also complicates efforts to link certain natural disasters to climate change.

Earlier this year, a collection of climate researchers known as World Weather Attribution said in a report limited data made it impossible to “confidently evaluate” the role of climate change in flooding that killed hundreds of people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda around Lake Kivu in May.

“We urgently need robust climate data and research in this highly vulnerable region,” their report said.