Nature's fury: Floods leave massive trail of destruction in North Eastern

Migori residents search for the body of a girl believed to have drowned in River Nyatike, yesterday. With them is Kanyasa ward MCA Jackypaul Ongoro. [Caleb Kingwara, Standard]

A humanitarian crisis is unfolding across North Eastern region as heavy rains continue to wreak havoc.

Residents of at least three counties in the region have been affected in the past few days as floods wash away roads and destroy property.

“This is fast becoming one of the most serious humanitarian crisis this region has seen in many years and urgent action is needed to meet the growing needs of thousands of people affected by these devastating floods,” said Kenya Livestock Marketing Council Vice Chairman Dubat Amey.

Flood levels have already reached record highs in Garissa County, according to local authorities.

Water levels in Tana River are way above normal and could cause more destruction.

Families in Mororo, Bakuyu and Ziwani along the river moved to Garissa town when their houses were submerged in flood waters. Many people are marooned.

Abdallah Umuro, a resident of Mororo, said hundreds of people were spending nights in the cold and had not received help from the Government or humanitarian agencies.

“Our houses have collapsed and all valuables have been washed away. We have erected temporary shelters as we wait for assistance,” he said.

Mr Umuro said their biggest concern was an outbreak of water-borne diseases as there were no latrines and children had started showing signs of diarrhoea.

The displaced residents have put up shelters near Garissa bridge. “We also fear an outbreak of malaria because most residents don’t have mosquito nets. We are appealing to the Government and humanitarian agencies to come to our aid,” said Halima Ilesa, chairperson of Sala ward.

Kenya Red Cross Society county co-ordinator Tusmo Ogle said residents of Mansabubu in Fafi constituency were marooned and efforts were underway to rescue them.

County Commissioner Joshua Chepchieng said the most affected areas were Mansabubu, Gurufa in Lagdera sub-county and parts of Balambala and Dadaab sub-counties.

He said roads to Bura, Masalani, Balambala and Modogashe were impassable and getting relief food there was a challenge.

Hundreds of families have also been displaced In Isiolo County. In Ngaremara, more than 100 families slept in the cold on Monday night after floodwaters swept away their homes and large number of livestock.

Speaking in Tractor village yesterday, Joseph Ngichili, a village elder, said 50 families were rescued by locals after their huts were swept away by the floods.

In Merti and parts of Garba-Tula, the road network has been damaged and transporters cannot deliver food.

“Transporters cannot access Merti district and families are starving. The road is completely damaged,” said Isiolo North MP Hassan Odha.

In Gafarsa and Malkadaka, Garba-Tula MCA Abdi Sora said more than 100 families had been displaced and hundreds of acres of irrigation farms destroyed. Isiolo Governor Mohammed Abdi Kuti said displaced families would be provided with relief food.

And in Migori County, Nyanza region, residents of Ungoye village in Nyatike are searching for the body of an 11-year-old girl who was swept away by floods. Conjestina Achieng was swept away after River Jangoe Sito burst its banks on Tuesday night.

Kanyasa ward MCA JackyPaul Ongoro said the pupil of Jangoe Primary School was with her mother, who survived.

In Kakamega County, acres of crops were destroyed after River Yala burst its banks. Distraught residents of Iguhu village, Ikolomani sub-county are counting their losses following the disaster.

Caleb Ogutu, a resident, claimed poor workmanship on the Litambiza bridge along the Kakamega-Kisumu road had led to water over-flowing and flooding the farms. 

[Kunow Abdullahi, Ali Abdi, Caleb King’wara and Jackline Inyanji]