In this arid part of northern Kenya, water can be hard to find, particularly in the dry season.
But a center run by the Samburu Girls Foundation – which rescues girls facing early marriage and female genital mutilation – has a new high-tech source of it.
Since June, the center, which has rescued more than 1,200 girls, has used panels that catch water vapor in the air and condense it to supply their drinking water.
“We used to have difficulties in accessing water and during a drought we could either go to the river to fetch water or ask our neighbors to give us water,” said Jecinta Lerle, a pupil and vice president of students at the center’s school.
But now, officials at the school say, the girls no longer have to travel for water – including into communities they have left, which could put them at risk.
“The girls can now have more time to study since there is enough fresh water to go round and there is no need to walk long distances to search for water,” said Lotan Salapei, the foundation’s head of partnerships.
Girls formerly trekked up to five kilometers a day in search of clean water during particularly dry periods, sometimes bringing them into contact with members of their former community, Salapei said.
The center, given 40 of the water vapor-condensing panels by the company that builds them, now creates about 400 liters of clean water each day, enough to provide all the drinking water the center needs.
The “hydropanels,” produced by U.S.-based technology company Zero Mass Water, pull water vapor from the air and condense it into a reservoir.
Cody Friesen, Zero Mass Water’s founder and chief executive officer, said the company’s project with the Samburu Girls Foundation was an example of its efforts to make sure the technology “is accessible to people across the socioeconomic spectrum.”
The panels provided to the Samburu Girls Foundation cost about $1,500 each, foundation officials said.
Zero Mass Water has so far sold or donated the panels in 16 countries, including South Africa.
George Sirro, a solar engineer with Solatrend Ltd., a Nairobi-based solar equipment company, said such devices can be a huge help not only to people but in slowing deforestation that is driving climate change and worsening drought in Kenya.
Often people with inadequate water cut trees to boil the water they do find to make it safe, he said, driving deforestation.
Philip Lerno a senior chief in Loosuk, where the girls’ foundation is located, said he hopes to see the panels more widely used in the surrounding community, which usually experiences long dry periods each year.
He said community members, having seen the devices in use at the school, hope to acquire some of their own if they can find the funding. (VOA)
Google Maps app for Android has received a new update where users can share their locations using Plus Codes.
Google Maps has the option to show Plus Codes since August 2015. The new change, however, is aimed to expand Plus Codes usage by allowing users to easily share their locations.
A Plus Code is essentially a digital address and it’s derived from latitude and longitude coordinates. It can be generated for any location.
“The technology to generate Plus Codes is also open source, which means the technology is easy and free to use, so anyone can see how the technology works and develop their own applications for any use case,” David Martin, Director of Program Management, Google Maps, said in a statement on Friday.
Users will be able to tap on the blue dot representing their current location and get a Plus Code for it.
Alternatively, they can long tap on a spot to put a pin on it and get a code for that.
Alongside the Plus Code, the application will also show other options including options to see nearby places, share your location and save your parking.
Once the app shows the Plus Code on the screen, one will be able to copy it just by tapping on it. Now, one will be able to share it among contacts by pasting it on apps like WhatsApp, Messages and more. (IANS)
As if the coronavirus wasn’t enough, India grappled with scorching temperatures and the worst locusts invasion in decades as authorities prepared for the end of a monthslong lockdown despite recording thousands of new infections every day as per the Latest news on coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
This triple disaster drew biblical comparisons and forced officials to try to balance the competing demands of simultaneous public health crises: protection from eviscerating heat but also social distancing in newly reopened parks and markets.
The heat wave threatens to compound challenges of containing the virus, which has started spreading more quickly and broadly since the government began easing restrictions of one of the world’s most stringent lockdowns earlier this month.
“The world will not get a chance to breathe anymore. The ferocity of crises are increasing, and they’re not going to be spaced out,” said Sunita Narain of New Delhi’s Center for Science and Environment.
When her 6-year-old son woke up with a parched throat and a fever, housekeeper Kalista Ekka wanted to bring him to the hospital. But facing a deluge of COVID-19 patients, the doctor advised Ekka to keep him at home despite boiling temperatures in the family’s two-room apartment in a low-income neighborhood in South Delhi.
“The fan only makes it hotter but we can’t open the window because it has no screen,” and thus no defense against malaria and dengue-carrying mosquitoes, Ekka said.
In a nearby upmarket enclave crowded with walkers and joggers every morning and at dusk — some with face coverings, some without — neighbors debated the merits of masks in an online forum.
In the heat, “it is very dangerous to work out with a mask. So a Catch-22 situation,” said Asmita Singh.
Temperatures soared to 118 degrees Fahrenheit (47.6 degrees Celsius) in the capital New Delhi this week, marking the warmest May day in 18 years, and 122 F (50 C) in the desert state of Rajasthan, after the world’s hottest April on record.
India suffers from severe water shortages and tens of millions lack running water and air conditioning, leaving many to seek relief under shady trees in public parks and stepwells, the ancient structures used to harvest rainwater.
Though many people continued wearing masks properly, others pushed them onto chins, or had foregone them altogether.
Cyclone Amphan, a massive super storm that crossed the unusually warm Bay of Bengal last week, sucked up huge amounts of moisture, leaving dry, hot winds to form a heat wave over parts of central and northern India.
At the same time, swarms of desert locusts have devastated crops in India’s heartland, threatening an already vulnerable region that is struggling with the economic cost of the lockdown.
Exasperated farmers have been banging plates, whistling or throwing stones to try to drive the locusts away, and sometimes even lighting fires to smoke them out. The swarms appeared poised to head from Rajasthan north to Delhi, but on Wednesday a change in wind direction sent them southward toward the state of Madhya Pradesh instead.
K.L. Gurjar, a top official of India’s Locust Warning Organization, said his 50-person team was scrambling to stop the swarms before breeding can take place during India’s monsoons, which begin in July. Otherwise, he said, the locusts could destroy India’s summer crops.
Meanwhile, India reported another record single-day jump of more than 6,500 coronavirus cases on Thursday, pushing up the total to 158,333 confirmed cases and 4,531 deaths.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is preparing a new set of guidelines to be issued this weekend, possibly extending the lockdown in worst-hit areas while promoting economic activity elsewhere, with unemployment surging to 25%.
The sudden halt to the Indian economy when the lockdown began March 25 has been devastating for daily laborers and migrant workers, who fled cities on foot for their family homes in the countryside.
The government started running special trains for the migrants, but deaths on the rails because of starvation or dehydration have been reported. Others immediately put into quarantine centers upon their arrival in home districts have tested positive for COVID-19, adding to the burden of severely strained rural health systems.
To jump start the economy, Modi’s environment ministry has moved to lower liabilities for industrial polluters and given private players the right to explore for coal and mine it. Cheap oil will fuel recovery efforts worldwide.
Indian environmental journalist Joydeep Gupta said that the perfect storm of pandemic, heat and locusts show India must go green. He said the government should implement policies to safeguard biodiversity and offer incentives for green energy to reduce greenhouse gases that cause climate change.
Instead, “the government is promoting the same sectors of the industry that have caused the multiple crises in the first place,” he said.
But Narain said other government initiatives that expand federal agriculture employment, cash transfer and food ration programs help India deal more effectively with its threats. “It’s building coping abilities of the very poor to be able to deal with stress after stress after stress,” she said. (VOA)
At least 80 per cent of school students in Maharashtra aged between 10-17 do not report cybercrimes they face online to their parents, teachers and the police, a new survey revealed on Thursday.
The study done with 1,148 children studying in the 6th-9th standard across 18 schools in Maharashtra, found that 33 per cent students deleted content due to which they were targeted for cybercrimes, while 31 per cent informed their friends about it.
The survey by a non-profit startup Responsible Netism and Cyber Peace Foundation, Maharashtra State Council of Educational Research and Training (MSCERT) was conducted between October 2019 to February 2020 to understand internet usage trends of children across Maharashtra.
The research found that 37 per cent of the students revealed that they were affected by some sort of cybercrime including their accounts being hacked, cyberbullying, being threatened online, harassment by strangers and even receiving pornographic content.
“Millions of kids in Maharastra today are being exposed to cybercrimes owing to the ease of access and anonymity that internet offers,” Sonali Patankar, Founder President, Responsible Netism, said in a statement.
“Our research points to the fact that technology companies are not stringently safeguarding the interests of children towards ensuring their cyber wellbeing,” Patankar added.
The findings showed that at least 60 per cent of students faced other crimes such as cyberstalking, online gambling, body shaming, added to inappropriate groups online, threatened online, etc.
According to the study, 46 per cent of the students revealed that they were dependent addicted to their devices (phones, tablets, computers) and it affected their studies. The report also revealed that Whatsapp and Tiktok are the two most-used apps by children in the state while PUBG and GTA are the most popular online games amongst children. (IANS)