Analysis of the Current and Potential Future Climate Hazards and their Impacts on Livelihoods and Adaptation Strategies in Arid and Semiarid Lands

Boniface N. Wambua


The study was carried out in four selected counties within the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALS) of Kenya namely Garrisa, West Pokot, Kilifi and Tana River which were under Kenya-Adaptation to Climate Change in Arid Lands (KACCAL) program. The study focused on the current and potential future climate hazards and their impacts on livelihoods and adaptation strategies within the framework of Kenya – adaptation to climate change in arid lands. The ASALS covers 80% of Kenya’s land mass and support about 70 percent of the national livestock population and 90% of wildlife resources. Despite the great potential for development in the ASALS, the areas have continued experiencing great climate hazards leading to severe impacts on household livelihoods. The study methodology involved identification and assessing the major climatic hazards experienced for many years and implementation of adaptation strategies by the local communities. This involved a review of operating/ existing assessment of Climate Risks in Agriculture and Rural Development, Field visits, data collection and stakeholder consultation through a series of intensive questionnaire interviews with farmers, project Planners and managers and county officials in the four counties.

The results showed that the four counties under study have been affected by droughts, floods, gusty winds and landslides hazards associated with climate change which have affected the livelihoods of the communities living in the ASALS. The impacts have been felt in food insecurity, scarcity of water resources, loss of livestock resources, persisted crop failure, increased malnutrition cases leading to infant morbidity and mortality among others. The intervention strategies to manage the climate change impacts  applied by stakeholders among other well-wishers are; distribution of food relief, provision of shelter, provision of tents, building gabions, moving families at high risk to saver grounds, construction of water dams and pans. At household level, intervention strategies used are diversification of livelihoods, growing of fodder crops to supplement the natural pasture, charcoal burning, growing of drought resistant crops among others. Subsequently, the study recommends that more awareness should be created among local communities so that they diversify their livelihoods to cope with changing climate. The stakeholder working in ASALs, County governments and National government should invest more on intervention strategies to management climate change impacts

Communities living in ASALs and other stakeholders should be trained on how to use tools and methodologies developed in order to monitor impacts of climate change in their respective counties and implement the appropriate intervention strategies to ensure households recover from impacts associated to of climate change. In other words, capacity building at community, county and national government should be a top priority.


Climate Change, Climate Hazards, Adaptation Strategies

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