Thousands Affected by Tana River Delta Flooding
NAIROBI, KENYA/NEW YORK, APRIL 19, 2013—After weeks of flooding, thousands of people in Kenya's Tana River Delta region are in urgent need of food, shelter, clean drinking water and medical services, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today, calling for more concerted efforts to aid those affected.
Rising waters have destroyed latrines, contaminated water sources and left nearly 7,000 people without access to health care, which is exacerbated by shortages of medicine at local facilities.
“We are concerned about the threat of waterborne and vector-borne disease outbreaks, which are common in situations of flooding," said Martha Kihara, MSF deputy medical coordinator in Kenya. "We are monitoring the situation so that we can detect and mitigate any disease outbreaks in a timely manner."
MSF has provided medical care and non-medical supplies to the displaced since the flooding began. Because many people were unable to bring any supplies with them when they moved to higher ground, MSF has distributed items including mosquito nets and plastic sheeting to more than 900 families. However, there is an urgent need for food supplies as many people have lost their crops and livestock.
“I left Chewele a week and a half ago after losing all my things in the floods," said one 36-year-old survivor, Riziki Juma, who is now living in Molokani displacement camp. "At least I managed to move with all my five children thanks to the efforts of my community. All our goats and other cattle drowned. Now I’m here and have received utensils, but there is nothing to cook!”
In a span of two weeks, MSF has carried out consultations and treated about 700 displaced people in Bura for diseases including upper respiratory tract infections, diarrhea, gastroenteritis and parasitic diseases.
MSF is also providing basic water and sanitation services, such as helping to build latrines and distributing water purification tablets, in Bura and Garsen and in the Dalango and Molokani displacement camps.
MSF has been working in Kenya since 1987. MSF is monitoring the situation in other areas affected by floods in Nyanza and Turkana. The organization also has projects in Kibera, Mathare, Homa Bay and Daadab refugee camp. MSF responds to medical emergencies in the country.