Leaders in N. Eastern, Nyandarua call for aid as floods wreak havoc

Devastating floods. [iStockphoto]

North Eastern leaders have called on both the government and humanitarian aid agencies to respond quickly to the devastating floods that have cost lives and livelihoods in the area.

During a presser at United Democratic Movement (UDM) offices in Nairobi on Saturday, Mandera County leaders asked the State to declare the situation a national disaster.

“I would like to appeal to all non-State actors, government and other well-wishers to come to the rescue because the situation doesn’t seem to be subsiding,” said UDM Party Leader Ali Roba. “Upscale the emergency response required as county governments are not adequately resourced to deal with catastrophes of this magnitude.” 

 This comes against President William Ruto’s recent weather advisory announcing that the country will no longer experience El Nino rains as was earlier predicted by meteorologists. 

 However, according to the flood assessment report by Mandera County, three lives have been lost, including that of two minors who sat their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams last week and an elderly mother. 

 The report revealed that floods have hurt Mandera South the most, with areas of Shimbir Fatuma, Fincharo, Burmayo North, Chachabole, BurmayoSouth, El-Agarsu, Qorobo Shanan, El-Hache A & B, Bula Dadacha and Kutulo ward bearing the brunt. 

 After the heavy downpour that has persisted for more than 48 hours, the report detailed that more than 12,000 households were affected, and 4,000 families were forced to flee their homes in Mandera South alone. Mandera Senator decried hunger that is likely to hit the semi-arid regions as roads have been rendered impassable by the floods; a blockade to transport of foodstuffs to the region and other essentials such as drugs.  

 This, he said has led to skyrocketing food prices in a region that has grappled with hunger and famine in the recent past due to prolonged droughts.  

 Mandera Governor Mohamed Khalif expressed fears of more deaths arising from starvation and water-borne diseases should urgent mitigation strategies fail to be put in place. “It is disheartening to see local schools submerged, hindering the education of our students, and the disruption of vital local institutions, including hospitals,” he said.

Short rains

 Mandera South legislator Abdul Haro pleaded with the State to release emergency and disaster management funds to help those affected. Several parts of the county have also been affected by the flooding as the weatherman ruled out the possibility of the situation abating throughout this month, which is the peak of short rains in Kenya.

“The 2023 short rains season is expected to record higher than the climatological average...some areas will have the season extend up to January 2024,” Director of Kenya Meteorological Department David Gikungu told The Standard. 

The coastal region has already recorded two deaths and livelihoods disrupted in parts of Nyanza where crops and homes have been swept away. In Kinangop, in Nyandarua County, farm produce worth millions of shillings has been reduced to waste following heavy rains that have been pounding the area.

Over 200 households in Kageraini Village, Nyakio Ward have been flooded with fears that the number could rise.

Local leaders and the Ministry of Education officers moved in to seek alternative examination centres after several schools were flooded.

According to Nyandarua Women Representative Faith Gitau, some of the villages in Kinangop could not be accessed due to the heavy rains.

Gitau, who attributed the crisis to poor drainage, said fresh produce in the farms had been left to rot as water levels continued to rise. Nyakio MCA Zachariah Njeru warned of massive losses as the rains continued to pound the region.

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