IAESV member Wangari Wang’ombe is a co-investigator on an EPSRC funded project. The project, which began in March 2020, will last 3 years and is led in DMU by George Onyango Okeyo. The project brings together an international consortium including Pennsylvania State University and the University of Nairobi.
This project seeks to enhance the disaster resilience in low income housing through a combination of big-data analytics and climate-change science. Kenya and the Kenyan coast, as well as the Mozambican and Tanzanian coasts have periodically suffered the effects of adverse weather conditions and associated disasters like droughts, tropical cyclones, etc. The new trend of droughts and tropical cyclones are likely to continue due to high temperatures prevailing in the Indian Ocean and the related changing climate. It is predicated that the temperature rises will increase while rainfall prediction will remain uncertain. As science grapples with trying to
understand the prevailing changes, the humanitarian disasters as a result of frequent droughts or cyclones have become the reality.
Still, most African governments (except Ethiopia) have no
structured policies to govern disaster risk reduction. Considering the fact that humanitarian drought disasters expose a large population, about 10.7 million people, in the Greater Horn of
East African countries (Ethiopia 5.6m, Somalia 2.9m and Kenya 2.2m) and the latest tropical cyclones that hit the Gulf of Eden in 2018 and Idai and Kenneth that hit Mozambique in 2019 and
killed 1, 000 people and affected 749,00 people, respectively, and the long term observations that show the tropical cyclones frequency in Mozambique rarely exceeds 1.5 per year of less than
category 2, it becomes obvious that the prevailing humanitarian disaster situation in Kenya and other East African countries may increase up to 2023 or longer and need not adversely affect the
people of East Africa if adequate disaster preparedness is put in place. The extreme weather events in East Africa cause either lack of water or over supply of water and are a threat to both food security, public health and wellbeing.
The aim of the project is to build shelters in a storm of rain or dust in Kenya as models for other countries disaster rescue operations. Each shelter in a storm will have built rescue centre with solar operated food bank, water point, refrigeration, and communication system. The shelter in a storm model will be built and tested in Kenya before rolling out to other countries. The seasonal weather forecasts will form the basis of disaster preparedness. Big data analytics will be applied in forecasting extreme events, annotating maps for disaster relief, and decision modelling for
multi-objective optimization. Economic modelling will be used to characterise risks associated with climate change as well as the impacts of adaptation strategies.