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Plant and protect trees to mitigate drought, Kenyans told.

Kenyans have been urged to plant and conserve trees as long-term measures against drought and starvation.

Kenya Wildlife Service senior scientist Jane Wamboi yesterday told the Star that Kenyans should understand the role of forests, and how they prevent droughts and floods and contribute towards food security.

Turkana, Samburu, Wajir, Mandera, Garissa, Baringo, Kilifi, Tana River, West Pokot, Marsabit, Makueni and Kajiado are some of the counties ravaged by drought. The media say that 20 people have died of famine in Baringo and Turkana. The famine has been blamed on drought.

National government officials, among them DP William Ruto, have dismissed the reports as fake news.

Wambui says forestation is the way forward. 'Forests can retain excess rain water, which they later release during dry seasons. They prevent extreme runoffs and reduce the damage from flooding,' she said.

The world marked the International Day of Forests yesterday with Forests and Education as the them.

"Mangroves are essential in protecting coastal communities from the effects of climate change. The aerial roots of mangroves retain sediments and prevent erosion, while the roots, trunks, and canopy reduce the force of oncoming waves and storm surge, thus reducing flooding,' Wambui said.

She called for a continuous learning process as part of efforts to improve forest cover. Wambui appealed to Kenyans to preserve trees, warning that planting then destroying will not achieve much.

"Only 10 per cent of trees are planted professionally. It's not a matter of just planting, we need to know how to make them survive.'

She wants forests fenced to allow natural rebirth in which trees undergo natural restoration.

Environment CS Keriako Tobiko was the chief guest during celebrations to mark the ?International Day of Forests in Siaya county. Governors called for proper engagement with the national government to find a long-term solution to drought.

Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) said a lasting solution will build community resilience to climate change.

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Mar 22, 2019
Words:377
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