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Kenyans brace for heavy rains, prolonged
cold spell as erratic weather bites

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenyans have been warned to expect more heavy rains and cold spell as the East African nation’s weather continues to be erratic.

Several places across Kenya have been hit by unexpectedly heavy rains in the last few days, disrupting business as the rains catch residents unawares.

In the capital Nairobi, heavy rains that caught many unawares on Monday evening created traffic gridlock on all major city roads.

A majority of city dwellers who rely on public transport spent hours on queues that saw some arrive at their homes in the wee hours of Tuesday.

Motorists, similarly, had to endure long hours on roads as the rainwater flooded highways exacerbating the situation. 

“I arrived home few minutes past mid night on Tuesday night having left the office after 6pm. I waited for public transport vehicle for close to three hours and spend the next over two hours in traffic jam. It was a bad day,” Joseph Otieno, a programs officer at a non-governmental organization in Nairobi, said Tuesday.

Otieno paid 2 U.S. dollars for the journey, more than double the 0.8 dollars that the vehicle operators for the route on the east of Nairobi, his plight capturing that of thousands of other workers in the city.

The Meteorological Department in its latest brief noted that the rains would last for about a week and would be heavy in Nairobi and neighboring districts.

“The Central highlands would experience mainly cool and cloudy mornings with the possibility of evening rains up to Sept. 3,” said the Meteorological Department Wednesday.

Others places that will experience rains include the central highlands of Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Kiambu, Murang’a and Naivasha.

The current rains pile misery to residents of Nairobi and the neighboring regions that have been grappling with a lengthy cold spell that began in June and lasts to date.

In Nairobi, the capital, chilly weather started in late May and is still biting to date, more than a month after it had been predicted to end.

Among those hit harder by the lengthy chilly weather are farmers, including those who keep chickens and grow crops like tomatoes and potatoes.

For the chicken farmers, a majority have seen their egg production halve as the cold weather causes stress to the birds.

Poultry diseases like coccidiosis and infectious coryza and pneumonia, which affect animals like goats, have also been on the rise.

“I have never seen something like this before. This cold weather has made me spend more on lighting and charcoal to keep the brooders warmer yet production is going down,” said farmer Bernard Kimani who keeps broilers in Kayole, Nairobi.

For human beings, respiratory diseases like common cold, flu and pneumonia have surged in the last months, according to industry data.

Experts have blamed the current situation to the ongoing effects of climate change, which have made the weather in the East African nation increasingly unpredictable.



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