In May, the meteorological department warned that the country will experience the El Niño phenomenon later in the year. The weatherman said this was likely to start in October and could continue until January 2024.
Based on this information and our past experience with the El Niño rains, Chair of the Council of Governors Anne Waiguru said Sh15 billion would be set aside to mitigate the effects of El Niño and offer support to households that would be affected. Indeed, some counties took precautions to clear blocked drainages and even bought motorboats for any eventualities.
Unfortunately, that eventuality is with us as most parts of the country get pounded by heavy rains. Crops, roads and houses have been destroyed by the heavy rains as flash floods in the north cause displacements.
In the last few days, the coastal region has borne the brunt of the rains. Raging floodwater, unable to find its natural route, has flooded residential areas, made roads impassable, displaced thousands of families and left death and destruction in its wake.
By yesterday, at least 11 people had been reported dead while others were missing. Plans put in place to mitigate the El Niño effects should be activated to help families in need and where possible, help those marooned in dangerous areas to move to safer areas.
We are yet to see the worst of the El Niño rains, and everything must be done to ensure that no more deaths are recorded. It is likely that most counties relaxed their vigilance after President Ruto announced last month that the Meteorological Department had scaled down its El Niño warning.
The national and County government of Mombasa must step up rescue efforts and help in the search of survivors and retrieval of hitherto missing bodies.
Those whose homes have been destroyed require food aid, clothing and tents to be set up for them where they can stay until the rains subside. It is the least both tiers of government can do for their besieged people.