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Flood victims in Garissa decry lack of government support, basic amenities

North Eastern
 

Flood victims in Garissa County decry poor living conditions and lack of government support. [Abdimalik Hajir,Standard]

Hundreds of individuals displaced by floods in Garissa County on Tuesday, November 28, expressed dissatisfaction with the poor living conditions and the absence of government assistance.

They claimed that they have been left to fend for themselves in makeshift camps, where they face the risk of cholera and other waterborne diseases.

Speaking to The Standard, Mohamud Abdi Omar, also known as Boqole, who is among 585 people currently at Garissa Vocational Training Centre, said they have spent five days in the camp with no help from the government. He said their suffering has also been compounded by lack of water in the camps, saying children, people living with disability and women are mostly affected.

“This makeshift you can see here, about 12 people have slept here, I was sleeping when you came because I didn’t sleep last night, this situation is too bad. We really need intervention,” he said.

Mr Omar blamed elected leaders whom he said normally go to every door during elections only to forget them when there are calamities that completely change their lives.

“It’s very unfortunate that today we lack toilets, water, and a place to sleep and those we elected are not even aware of our conditions,” he added.

The Standard has gathered that the floods have displaced 7,278 households in Garissa County, with the township being the epicenter of the calamity, accounting for 4,372 households. The displaced individuals are spread in seven camps in Garissa Township, including Yhuga, Garissa National Polytechnic, Vocational Training Centre, Kasuko Primary, Jairbu Primary and Ziwani.

Mama Halima Hussein said the majority of people in the camps were farmers who have also lost their livelihood through the deluge, appealing for help from relevant government departments.

“Some people have lost their houses to the floods and their farms too, and here in the camps we appeal for mobile latrines to at least cope with the situation,” she said.

Pastoral Girl Initiative, a local non-governmental organization that has been responding to flood victims, has been providing them with non-food items, such as soap, shelter, water tanks, among other items.

The director of the organization, Fatuma Kinsi, described the situation as critical, appealing for more support in aid of the flood victims, noting that a multi-sectoral approach is needed to help the situation.

She said the organization has been involved in El Nino preparedness with funding and technical support from Oxfam. They had formed a rapid response team who will respond to inter-county emergencies.

Also at Mororo, hundreds of displaced people put up makeshift roads while others spent the night in the open.

Meanwhile, Garissa Governor Nathif Jama has issued a stern warning to rogue traders taking advantage of the current floods to hoard essential commodities that their licenses will be revoked.

His office had received several complaints from area residents that some traders are holding back essential commodities to create an artificial shortage and later inflate their prices because the major supply routes to the region have been closed.

Four days ago, Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) temporarily closed the Garissa-Nairobi highway and Garissa-Mombasa road after several sections of the roads were swept away by the raging floods occasioned by El Nino rains pounding several parts of the country.

The two major roads are not only the entry points to Garissa town and the rest of the North Eastern region but also supply all the commodities from Nairobi, Mombasa and groceries from central Kenya.

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