New Vision (Kampala)

19 January 2013

Uganda: Is Uganda Prepared for Weather Madness

opinion

For countless ages, Uganda has been one of the most enviable countries in Africa, thanks to its amicable people, flora and fauna, natural waters, excellent soils, but most importantly friendly median weather almost all year round.

However, in the last several years, things have been taking significant turns and in this mix, the weather has not been spared.

In 2006, when we had the first hard hitting El Nino rains, one would have expected that we ought to have learnt our lessons right. For me, this was a warning sign that times had changed on us and therefore, we needed to change along. If anyone has been observant, weather patterns in Uganda have since changed to such an extent that we no longer have consistent rains.

Often it rains relatively heavily for one day and the rest of the week it gets hot and hotter. In fact, in the last couple of days, many will admit that it has been nearly impossible to cover with a blanket in bed or walk out as freely in the sun as we used to years gone by. No question, times have changed significantly.

A few weeks ago I was in South Africa, and as we drove from Amahlubi, we were suddenly engulfed in thick fog like I had never experienced before. Visibility was almost impossible. Now, South Africa is known to be 'Africa's Europe' because of its white occupation. Perhaps one could remotely suspect that the whites are responsible for the change in South Africa's weather-after all, such hard weather conditions are synonymous with white countries! Snow fall is not quite African.

In fact it was reported last year that Johannesburg experienced some snow spell, which could be a pointer to what should be expected in future. Certainly the current harsh weather being experienced in Uganda must be viewed in the same vain.

The so-called G8 countries have been holding meetings over Global climate change and they have also committed so much in terms of resources to manage the same. Sadly, while sometimes we might want to think that we are bright enough to address every condition, we must leave room to presume the Act of God. Otherwise with all its wealth, Europe would never allow so much devastation caused by crazy winters or storms like we've seen recently in Japan or the United States.

Each time the storms have come, they have swept away with them so many lives, leaving behind massive damage. I think our focus must be now put on climate change adaptability rather than climate change management.

Today it is quite hotter in Uganda than we've experienced in a long while. Should we just look on as we sweat profusely and helplessly? Ugandans might want to start making considerations of cooling facilities in their homes; keeping more drinking water than usual; need to change our dress code; and possibly carrying umbrellas to protect against the scorching sun. Sadly in Uganda, if one walked half-naked, they might usually be scolded, but may be also this attitude may need to change!

Well, in all earnest, I think that the Government might have to re-adjust its priorities and provide ample room for citizens' climate change adaptability. We might want to start asking ourselves whether facilities like umbrellas or air conditioners or even relevant clothing, are available and at an affordable cost. Needless to mention, is of course the fact that concentration levels tend to wane during very hot weather conditions-this might particularly be of interest to employers around town.

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