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April 20, 2010 / Dave Gorham

Kenya's Economy Hit Hard after Iceland Volcanic Eruption

We’ve all heard by now about the major travel disruptions the Iceland volcanic eruption has caused across a major part of Europe. However, Europe isn’t the only place impacted by the April 14th ongoing eruptions. Volcanic ash may not have spread as far south as Kenya, in eastern Africa, but their economy has definitely been hit hard by it.

Image: ImpactWeather Gmaps 2.0

Europe receives about 1,000 tons of produce and flowers from Kenya daily, but with the airspace closures over a good portion of Europe the past several days, the exports simply can’t get there. Farmers are trying desperately to save their goods and worry about them perishing before they can get to market. Many farmers have had to start throwing away their crops and it is estimated that they have lost a total of around $3 million per day. So far Kenya has had to throw away approximately 10 million flowers,mostly roses. Some 5,000 day laborers in Kenya have been without work since the ash cloud shut down air traffic across Europe.

Rotten produce that will be distributed to farm animals. Image: New York Times

Kenyan exporters are trying hard to find ways to get their products to market so they won’t lose them. On Monday, they flew 1,000 metric tons of flowers to Spain and from there they will be transported by road to Paris and Amsterdam.

Flights are grounded after the Iceland volcanic eruption halted air traffic across a major portion of Europe. Image: Reuters

The latest information coming out of Eurocontrol is that they expect 14,000 flights to take place today in the European airspace. On a normal Tuesday, they would typically expect between 27,000 and 28,000. By the end of today, Eurocontrol says more than 95,000 flights in total will have been canceled since last Thursday. At the current time, air traffic control services are not being provided to civil aircraft, or are being provided with significant restrictions, in the lower airspace primarily in northwestern Europe, including Denmark, Estonia, Finland, north France, north Italy, Latvia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Ukraine and UK. In the upper airspace above 20,000 feet, all European airspace is available. Flights are allowed today in the following areas: Austria, the Balkans, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, parts of Italy and France, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Romania, northern Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.

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