Lamu archipelago, disaster in waiting!

SLR Inundation vulnerable areas
SLR Inundation vulnerable areas

lamu archipelago is free from climate-related disturbances especially climate related changes. Or is it, having a discussion with the local communities, they have different experiences. General climatic and seasonal changes are being seen. Some species of fish have completely disappeared from the waters and they can’t seem to be found at all. One community member stated that the ocean changes are evident, with the ocean waters either encroaching or receding from the available human space, however in some ome areas at the archipelago island especially the Pate island have actually been submerged and land beacons are under the ocean waters!. the communities and the owners actually lay claim of the area covered by the advancing ocean, as their own. Meanwhile, the ocean is comfortably covering the beacons, its a site to behold.  I went at lengths to use the available software in GIS especially global mapper and Arc GIS to run an analysis on the areas under threat from the receding or advancing oceans. The map is shown on the left.

The map gives an idea of the areas that are vulnerable and may be affected by a sea level rise of up to 3m in the coming century. Besides the fear of an island whose sustainability is threatened due to climate-related stress, energy choices and upcoming fossil fuel projects in the island are adding a time bomb to an already threatened ecosystem. Hoteliers around the archipelago are a worried lot, as the ocean waters are seen to be crawling to their doorsteps. If it’s not the advancing and receding oceans, it’s the sandstorms created by sea wall pressures mounted especially along the rich estates of Lamu Shilla and Ras Kiwayu island. The developments have created uninhabitable dwellings leading to the abandonment of some of the places, inviting urban decay in some areas of the island.



Renewal areas identified

Where and at what level is Lamu island safe, remains to be identified with time. The global trend of sea level changes and climate disturbances is placing small island nations and general islands under threat. There’s a general lack of knowledge on this phenomena by the locals who inhabit this specific island. Their life is going on well, the easiest threat seen is the incoming LAPPSET project, which according to the people with diverse ideas, the LAPPSET project is going to benefit up to nine countries, but the people who will pay for the pollution are the dwellers of Lamu archipelago. The other project making people worried in Lamu is the COAl energy power plant, which is also in the pipeline, a move that is highly questionable when global leaders are shutting down coal plants around the globe to reduce temperature increase to 2 degrees celsius maximum, I tend to wonder where Kenyan government priorities are. Community-based organizations are having their plate full discussing these issues, so the issues of advancing oceans and the threat of sea level rise would not immediate,we can wait for the tsunami to come or have most of our homes Inundated, then we could think about it.


Land created from ocean
Land created from ocean

Lamu Wioni, a new dwelling has in the last five years been created by the dredging of the channel to create a deeper area for boats headed to the LAPPSET and the coal factory site. The site According to the Lamu chief planner has not been surveyed but serious buildings and hotels have been built in the area and the proximity to the ocean is threatening. During the afternoon water return, some parts of the village are covered by water. He attests that the people who have the plots are not willing to abide by the planning rules of 60 meters leave way from the oceans to the nearest houses. The effects are already being felt as the landowners are forced to put  sea walls to protect their investment. This is unfortunately being done by single investors with some of the walls ripped apart by the ocean waters.

lamu archipelago leaders, community members as well as the central and the county governments, need to put measures in place to keep this UNESCO site from being wasted by the upcoming projects and unsustainable fossil fuel mining that will render this environmental site derelict. I would love to hear from you.




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2 thoughts on “Lamu archipelago, disaster in waiting!

  1. wonderful submit, very informative. I’m wondering why
    the opposite experts of this sector do not realize this.
    You should continue your writing. I’m sure, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

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