Floods leave 46 dead, displace thousands as rains pound

Friday, November 17th, 2023 03:30 | By
Floods leave 46 dead, displace thousands as rains pound
Floods leave 46 dead, displace thousands as rains pound PHOTO/Print

The ongoing heavy rainfall that has continued to pound many parts of the country has led to the death of 46 people, Kenya Red Cross Society has reported.

Among the areas worst hit by the floods is Tana River county where two people died and 4000 displaced with fears that this number could rise in the coming days.

 With water levels in the Tana River rising to critical levels, putting the counties of Garissa, Tana River, and Kilifi at a heightened risk of flooding, the government is warning residents against disregarding advisories.

There are fears that the crisis may escalate after Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority (TARDA) on Tuesday night issued an advisory warning of increased flooding due to rising water levels at Tana River.

Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Florence Bore who spoke while in the coastal county to oversee the delivery of emergency food and non-food supplies by the Child Welfare Society of Kenya appealed to families in flood-prone areas to immediately move to safer grounds until the El Nino rains subside.

 She regretted that the widespread flooding had adversely affected thousands of children who are in dire need of food and other basic items as a result of displacement.

 Devastating aftermath of the floods is being experienced in the Madogo area where victims have camped at the Bakuyu.

 “As rains wreak havoc, our goal is to reach the vulnerable children in the affected areas. The ongoing heavy rains have led to loss of livelihoods and to some extend loss of lives with children being adversely affected by the current heavy flooding as families are displaced and consequently left in dire need of food and other basic items” she said.

Basic supplies

 Speaking in Kipini West Ward Garsen Constituency CS Bore lauded Child Welfare Society of Kenya, which is a state agency, for their intervention targeting 24,000 children from 6,000 households in three sub-counties of Garsen, Hola and Madogo.

 “We successfully distribute food and basic supplies targeting 24,000 children in the region with the support of the Child Welfare Society of Kenya which plays a critical role in providing national emergency response and rescue services for children in the country” she noted.

 “We aim to support at least 6,000 households with children in Garsen, Hola-Galole and Bura-Madogo” she added.

Together with the national government, the society which is working closely with the multi-agency teams on the ground, local leaders, and the county government has ramped up support for the victims by providing necessities, including food and non-food items in Garsen, Hola, and Madogo.

“In such situations, children are the most affected when their protective environments and homes are destroyed. It is our responsibility to come to their rescue and we will extend this intervention to other affected areas” Child Welfare CEO Irene Mureithi affirmed.

The El-Nino rains have caused havoc in more than 19 Counties in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) and non-ASAL areas where residents are staring at risk of disease outbreaks as the raging floods maroon several homes. Among the counties that have borne the brunt of the deluge are Migori, Marsabit, Garissa, Mandera, Isiolo, Wajir, and Tana River.

Heavy downpour

 In Migori County, at least nine people have died as the devastating effects of the heavy rains continue to be reported across parts of the country.

More than 400 others have been displaced from their homes following flooding occasioned by heavy downpours in the county.

Among those who have died are two children who drowned in River Kuja, Nyatike Sub-county and two men who drowned in separate incidents at River Ogoche, when the river broke its banks in the Wasimbete area in Suna West constituency and Nyarago River in Uriri Sub-county last week.

Two children were rescued from drowning around Nyandago Bridge along Uriri-Awendo road.

A body was on Wednesday picked at Thim Jope area in Uriri constituency after it was swept by the swollen River Oyani.

 The county Kenya Red Cross Society coordinator Kevin Ondiek said a total of 70 households have so far been affected and about 413 people displaced by the raging waters.

Ondiek said the affected infrastructure include, Kabuto dispensary and Modi Primary School and dykes at Kabuto around River Kuja.

“The floods have forced us out of our homes. I have lost almost everything I had to the calamity,” said Risper Odongo, a resident of Nyatike.

“We are on high alert to respond to emergencies in real-time when they happen and we have called on people to move to higher grounds,” Migori county secretary Oscar Olima said.

On Monday, the county government issued foodstuff, and medical and household equipment to those affected by floods in Konyango, Kabuto, and Modi villages in Nyatike constituency.

In Baringo County, disaster is looming after water levels in Lake Baringo continue to rise tremendously following heavy rains pounding the region.

 The areas risking submersion include Loropil, Sintaan, Ngambo and parts of Marigat town. 

Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi yesterday appealed to the residents in flood and landslide-prone areas to move to safer grounds to avert a disaster.

 “We call on our people to move to safer grounds as we put in place arrangements to relocate them,” said Cheboi, adding that his administration will set aside some emergency funds to mitigate against disasters,” Cheboi said.

 Meanwhile, Nyeri County Director of Meteorological Services John Muiruri asked residents to exercise caution and avoid putting their lives in danger.

 Muiruri cautioned those occupying areas near rivers and in hilly areas that they still face the risk of being washed away by the downpour if flash floods and landslides occur.

 On Tuesday, Nyeri County Deputy Governor David Kinanie said that three people have so far lost their lives while trying to cross the River Chania, which is currently flooded.

Body to be retrieved

The latest victim is an 11-year-old boy from Nyeri town who disappeared four days ago, only for his body to be retrieved from the river, several kilometres away from his home.

The Kenya Red Cross (KRC) has already warned the country to brace for more humanitarian crises within the next few weeks, even as seven counties report widespread destruction of crops and displacement of both people and livestock due to flooding.

Statistics from KRC show that 15,264 families have been forced to relocate from their homes due to flooding.

In addition, 1,067 livestock have been lost and 241 acres of agricultural land submerged under water, posing a threat to food production in the affected areas.

The regions of Nyanza, Western, and South Rift have also been identified as flood hotspots, with KRC Secretary General Idris Ahmed saying the country needs a 24-hour disaster alert and response system to help reach out to those who will be affected by floods.

“If you look at the weather forecast in the next two weeks, we shall have more concern in western Kenya, the lake basin, and the south rift region,” said Ahmed.

The official also disclosed that at least 29 counties had been affected by flooding, with those residing in the North-Eastern region being the worst affected.

Elsewhere, the government, through the Wildlife Training and Research Institute (WRTI), has scaled up monitoring systems across game parks in the country to mitigate any loss of wild animals as a result of El Nino rains.

According to the institute director, Patrick Omondi, the country has not recorded any deaths of wildlife as a result of ongoing rains but has instituted.

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