Climate change and coastal cities: the case of Mombasa, Kenya


This paper discusses the risks that the city of Mombasa faces from the direct and indirect impacts of climate change. Mombasa is Kenya's second largest city and has more than 700,000 inhabitants. It is the largest seaport in East Africa, serving not only Kenya but also many landlocked countries and the north of Tanzania. The city has a history of disasters related to climate extremes including floods, which cause serious damage nearly every year and, often, loss of life. The floods in October 2006 were particularly serious, affecting some 60,000 people in the city and the wider province. In addition, around 17 per cent of Mombasa's area could be submerged by a sea-level rise of 0.3 metres, with a larger area rendered uninhabitable or unusable for agriculture because of water logging and salt stress. Tourism is an important part of the city's economy. Thus, sandy beaches, historic and cultural monuments and several hotels, industries and port facilities would be negatively affected. This paper also discusses the measures needed to reduce the vulnerability of Mombasa's population and economic base to climate change.


Environment and Urbanization (2008) 20 (1) 231-242 [doi: 10.1177/0956247808089158]

Climate change and coastal cities: the case of Mombasa, Kenya

Published 1 January 2008