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Access to Justice

Two people, two thousand miles, one problem

Andrew Lodio has nowhere to go. Drought has ravaged his land, bringing dry desert all around him. A sea of dust stretches out before him for thousands of miles.

Andrew can hardly remember the last time he saw rain. His village of Lokitaung in northern Kenya has become engulfed by desert. Where once there were rivers, now there are valleys of dust.

Life in northern Kenya has become a constant search for water. Water for the crops, water for the animals, water for cooking. But there is no water anywhere.

Photo: Andrew from Kenya and Gulshad from Pakistan.  Two people, one problem.

Photo: Andrew from Kenya and Gulshad from Pakistan. Two people, one problem.

“The last two years there has been no rain,” he says. “There have been droughts here before but never like this one. This one is worse because it is all over the region. Normally if it is bad here we can go somewhere else, but now it is bad all over. There is nowhere to go.”

Over two thousand miles away, Gulshad Chandio searches for space in an over-crowded tent.

Eight-year-old Gulshad and her entire family have lived in this tent for a year, ever since floods struck Pakistan and destroyed their every possession.

The floods were caused by melting ice high in the mountains to the north of Pakistan. The melting ice combined with unusually high levels of rain and washed through the country, forcing 20 million people from their homes.

“Before the flood, we were hearing about the threat through the media and through friends,” she remembers. “We were very afraid because we knew that it was coming our way.”

Eventually we had to leave because the floods came and destroyed everything.

 “I live in a tent with my parents and three brothers and sisters. It is very hot in the tent so I don’t like it. I want to go home because I miss my hometown and my friends, but we are all very scared that the floods will come back this year so we cannot go home.”

Gulshad was right to fear further flooding. Three months after expressing her fears to Trócaire, Pakistan was once again facing serious flooding, with five million people driven from their homes.

Huge areas of land throughout Asia were affected. Across Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand and Cambodia, millions of people had to flee as their homes and lives were destroyed by floods.

Just as Andrew Lodio faces an uncertain future due to drought, the floods which have ruined large areas of Pakistan for two years running mean that 8-year-old Gulshad Chandio does not know when she will be able to re-start her life.

Two people separated by over two thousand miles. Both victims of climate change.

To highlight the issue, two of Trócaire’s leading climate change partners are in Ireland and will give a public talk in Dublin’s Buswells Hotel on Thursday, October 13th.

Photo: Andrew from Kenya and Gulshad from Pakistan.  Two people, one problem.

John Kioli Kalua (pictured right) and Cecilia Kibe Muthoni (left), both members of The Kenya Climate Change Working Group, are in Ireland meeting with the public and speaking at universities. 

John and Celia will be outlining the problems caused by climate change to politicians and will meet with Mary Robinson during their visit.

At their talk in Dublin’s Alexander hotel, John and Celia will discuss their involvement in the Kenya Climate Change Bill and the impact climate change is having on rural communities in east Africa.

The talk begins at 3.30pm and will continue to 5.15pm.

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