Anxiety as Naivasha’s displaced people face loss of homes again

IDPs from Vumilia Narok camp in Naivasha, Thursday. [PHOTO: ANTONY GITONGA/STANDARD]

NAIVASHA: Hundreds of internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in various camps in Mai Mahiu, Naivasha, are staring at displacement once more.

And this time round it is not tribal clashes that are threatening to uproot the IDPs from their newly-found homes, but the impacts of natural disasters.

Deep gullies caused by heavy rains that have been pounding the area coupled with unexplained underground tunnels have left the IDPs living in fear. Already, several graves have been exposed, houses left hanging dangerously and roads leading to various camps swept off. The IDPs are now contemplating relocating some of the exposed graves.

The most affected is Vumilia Narok IDP camp that is located off the Naivasha-Mai Mahiu road with over 100 families.

According to the camp's chairman, Stephen Mbugua, the problem started a couple of years ago and had already claimed a section of the camp.

Mr Mbugua said they bought the land using funds from the Government but seven years down the line, things have taken a turn for the worse. He said the situation had been made worse by the recent heavy rains and challenged the county government to use funds set aside to address El Nino effects to help them.

"We are ready to be relocated to arable and alternative land as we fear that the area we are living in could cave in any time," he said.

The IDPs woes were summed up by Waweru Kimani whose house is a few metres from one of the gullies and his two children's graves have been exposed.

An emotional Waweru said he feared he would not have anywhere to bury his children. "Part of the problem lies with those who constructed the Naivasha-Mai Mahiu road as all water was diverted to the IDP camps," he said.

Jane Waithera said they were living in fear as the gullies become wider and deeper and called on relevant government agencies to come to their aid.

Samuel Macharia said his wife's grave could be swept away if the crisis was not addressed.