State requires Sh10bn to prepare for El nino
The government will require about Sh10.5 billion to mitigate the effects of the El Nino rains, expected to pour next month.
According to an intergovernmental committee established to advise the government on how to deal with El Nino, the country has a deficit of Sh10.5 billion to prepare the nation. “Sh5 billion had already been set aside for emergency in addition to allocating each county government Sh20 million,” said the report.
The technical team under the Interior ministry was formed two weeks ago to come up with a comprehensive plan on measures to be undertaken in specific counties to lessen the adverse effects of the anticipated floods.
The El Nino contingency strategic plan for 2014-2018 indicates that 1.5 million people could be in need of direct assistance as a result of the floods. Out of these, 500,000 are expected to be displaced from their homes by the floods and land slides.
Academy of Sciences unveils ancient tool
The African Academy of Sciences has unveiled an enlarged replica of the Ishango bone, a 22,000 year old animal bone discovered in Ishango in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and believed to indicate the early use of mathematics on the continent.
Mauritian president and AAS Fellow Ameenah Gurib-Fakim unveiled the replica glass monolith at the launch of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa. The 150 cm 2D replica was etched by a laser beam with its sub-surface engraved with the words, Ishango bone. The 2D replica will be positioned in front of the Academy’s building in Karen, Nairobi.
Tanzania stops from Malawi burning its ivory
Tanzania has blocked Malawi from burning 2.6 tonnes of ivory, saying it needs to use the tusks as evidence for the prosecution of suspected poachers.
The nearly 800 tusks were intercepted by customs officials as they were being smuggled into Malawi from Tanzania. The director of Malawi’s wildlife department said he was disappointed with the court order, which bans the burning of the ivory for three months. Malawi’s elephant population has halved since 1980, mainly due to poaching.
Tanzania’s has declined by 60% in the past five years. Last month, a court fined two Malawian siblings Sh577,500 ($5,500) for their part in trafficking the ivory and ordered it be burned within 20 days, AFP news agency reports. But Tanzania’s authorities successfully sought an order to block the destruction from the High Court in the Malawian city of Mzuzu.
Weed can worsen malaria, says study
A study by the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) has discovered an invasive weed that has the ability to sustain the malaria-transmitting mosquito Anopheles. According to the research, the famine weed (Parthenium hysterophorus) can extend the life of a mosquito even without a blood meal.
The weed is one of the world’s most serious among invasive plants that are able to thrive and spread aggressively outside their original geographical areas. “The success of the weed is based on its huge ability to adapt to harsh environmental conditions,” says the study in part. In addition, the weed grows very fast and is able to store large amounts of seeds which are very small and light in the soil.