Rich countries must provide more finance to help the poor cope with the impact of global warming, residents of Kenya's biggest informal settlement told Alok Sharma, the president of the COP26 global climate talks.
In Kibera, a sprawling informal settlement housing more than 200,000 people living cheek-by-jowl in makeshift homes, the change in weather patterns - in particular increased rainfall over a shorter period of time - has had a devastating impact. Due to poor drainage and garbage collection, floods are a common occurrence - not only destroying homes and possessions, but also contaminating drinking water and even causing deaths through building collapses, electrocutions and drownings.
"The climate has changed a lot. We experience heavy rains more and this brings flooding which damages houses, brings diseases to our children and causes deaths," said Faith Ondiek, a weather forecast provider or 'Weather Mtaani' leader with the DARAJA project. DARAJA provides local forecasts from the Kenya Meteorological Department, which are translated into Kiswahili and local slang Sheng and sent out daily via SMS, WhatsApp and radio. The forecasts provide actionable information, telling residents to avoid a particular route as it may be flooded, or advising parents not let children play near the river as heavy rains are expected. The Mtaani leaders also organise clean-ups of the river and drainage areas, ensure electrical cables are out of harm's way, and advise residents to add waterproofing materials to their homes when heavy rains are forecast. "The message we want the president to take back to global leaders is that we are doing what we can to deal with climate change, but we need help. The rich nations must contribute some funds so we can improve our lives in the face of this threat."
"Globally as extreme weather events become more frequent and more severe we need to build resilience among the most vulnerable communities," Sharma said.
Developed countries agreed at the United Nations in 2009 to jointly contribute $100 billion each year from 2020 in climate finance to poorer countries, many of which are grappling with rising seas, storms and droughts made worse by climate change. But only a fifth of global contributions have so far gone towards adaptation, with most support focused on cutting greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries. Adaptation action includes everything from expanding green space in cities to prevent floods and moving coastal communities to safer places to capturing rainwater, providing storm warnings and giving farmers weather and crop advice via mobile phones.