Tuesday, November 21st, 2023 01:56 | By
The national and county governments in conjunction with the Kenya Red Cross (KRC) and humanitarian organizations are providing urgent assistance to communities and families affected in flood-prone counties.
Areas most affected include: Lake Victoria basin, highlands west of the Rift Valley and central and south Rift Valley as well as the north-western counties (Turkana and Samburu).
Others are the highlands east of the Rift Valley counties including Nairobi area (Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Kiambu, Laikipia East, Meru, Embu, Tharaka Nithi and Nairobi); south-eastern lowlands counties (Kitui, Makueni, Machakos, Taita Taveta, and Kajiado); north-eastern counties (Mandera, Marsabit, Wajir, Garissa and Isiolo); and coastal counties (Mombasa, Tana River, Kilifi, Lamu and Kwale).
A statement from the Ministry of Interior and National Administration stated that disaster response and security teams have been activated and in the short term are identifying locations that are likely to be marooned in respective flood-prone counties through aerial and ground reconnaissance.
Teams from the Kenya Coast Guard Service, National Police Service, Kenya Defense Forces and Kenya Wildlife Service are also alert to rescue people in the flood-affected counties.
The rescue teams will also assist in the distribution of food and non-food items to the affected communities and those in evacuation centers in flood-hit counties.
Temporary shelters including tents for the displaced persons in the evacuation centers, mostly schools and social halls, where available, will also be provided.
Security personnel are likewise warning communities living in flood-prone areas in good time to vacate their homes and move to higher grounds.
The state of key roads and bridges that are critical transport and communication nodes in flood-prone counties are also being monitored and updates are issued on their usability.
Meanwhile, leaders from Wajir County have appealed to the national government to release emergency funds to address the devastating effects of the ongoing rains.
Describing the situation as dire, the politicians said the heavy downpour has claimed the lives of at least four individuals, left scores stranded, and displaced thousands from their homes.
Led by Wajir County Governor Ahmed Abdullahi, the legislators cautioned that unless the national government releases the funds earmarked in the supplementary budget to mitigate the effects of El Nino rains; the situation will get out of hand.
Abdullahi asked the government to urgently intervene and channel proper logistical support to evacuate marooned residents to prevent waterborne diseases and further casualties.
“In our efforts, as county government, we attempted to use helicopters to relocate those trapped by rising waters to safer areas. However, the intensity of the rainfall and the soil’s inability to absorb it have overwhelmed us. Unless we get more logistical support, we fear more lives will be lost,” Governor Abdullahi told a press conference at Wilson Airport on Monday.
In Kwale, affected residents were yesterday issued with assorted emergency relief items.
The flood-affected communities who are camping at internally displaced camps in Msambweni sub-county received rice, beans, canned meat, cooking utensils, iron sheets, mattresses, blankets, sanitary towels, and basic healthcare services.
Some 680 families have been displaced and rendered homeless by floods across the county and at least five people have died in what authorities say is the worst flooding in recent years.
Schools in the affected areas are currently occupied by internally displaced persons and it is not known how many hectares of crops have been destroyed but many farmers told KNA that they had lost everything.
The food and non-food items were handed over to the displaced families by the Cabinet Secretary for East African Community Affairs, ASAL, and Regional Development Peninah Malonza accompanied by her Mining, Blue Economy, and Maritime Affairs colleague Salim Mvurya.
Malonza instructed all aid agencies involved in relief operations to put in their best possible effort for immediate rescue and relief.
She said her ministry was responding to the escalating humanitarian needs caused by the rising number of affected persons across the country due to the above-normal rainfall.
“The government along with various stakeholders is mobilizing adequate resources to support flood-affected communities, safeguard livelihoods, and properties, and undertake emergency infrastructure repairs and maintenance to ameliorate the situation,” Malonza said.