Africa and Climate Change Refugees’ Quandary: Kenya Perspectives
Kenya has struggled for decades to eradicate poverty, curb famine, and mitigate weather-related hazards such as floods and droughts. These hazards are likely to be further compounded by climate change since temperature and rainfall in Kenya, are expected to increase at a range of 2.5 °C–3 °C, and 5–20% respectively, by the end of the century. Moreover, research shows that a 30 cm sea-level rise would submerge 17% of the Kenya coastal region. Given that Kenya lies in the epicenter of the equator, and that two-thirds of her landmass is semi-arid, she is likely to experience extreme weather patterns. In a country pigeonholed by land ownership conflict, the internally environmentally displaced persons will probably intensify this conflict. Trans-boundary forced migration within East Africa will unfurl other predicaments because there is no legal framework protecting or recognizing environmental refugees. Using the case studies of Mandera and Turkana counties, we noted that environmental internally displaced persons are likely to intensify cattle raid attacks as well as tribal and land ownership conflicts. The research also observed that there is a protection gap of climate change/environmental refugees internationally. The research recommends national and regional agreements protecting the rights of environmental refugees, which should set the foundation for an international convention.
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