Weather warning and forecast service brings benefits to East African nations

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DARAJA, a city and community weather forecasting and early warning service, has highlighted a number of examples of how lives have been improved in two East African cities, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, thanks to the insights provided by its services.

According to DARAJA, before the service began two years ago, close to 50% of Nairobians living in informal settlements in Kenya’s capital city looked up at the sky as their key source of weather and climate information. The residents of Dar es Salaam faced similar challenges accessing relevant local weather forecasts and early warnings to help them prepare for the impacts of floods and heatwaves. Now this has all changed.

Residents can now access advanced and accurate weather, early warning and climate information (typically reserved for those in the agriculture and maritime sector) in Nairobi’s informal settlements, with access having risen from 56% to 93% within 18 months.

Action to avoid household loss (for example, clearing community drains) is now taken by 98% of surveyed residents as a result of accessing DARAJA services. Additionally, 72% of survey residents state that they avoided personal damage and loss due to early warning weather information provided via DARAJA (such as saving income and protecting their household, clothing, beds and furniture).

It has been calculated that the net potential economic benefits to both Nairobi and Dar es Salaam over the two-year project, according to a report by UK Met Office consultant economists (looking forward over a 10-year period), are between US$24m and US$43m, against a total project cost of under US$1m.

British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott concluded, “COP26 will be a crucial moment in our collective efforts to respond to the very real impacts of climate change we see here in Kenya. In this Year of Climate Action in Kenya, the impact of initiatives like DARAJA led by local changemakers demonstrates how Kenya-UK partnerships have empowered people in informal settlements with weather information to help communities plan better against climate shocks.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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