Kenya

80,000 people displaced in Kenya floods

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After a brief lull in the October-December 2006 short rains season, heavy downpours are now being experienced in parts of the country in November. Earlier in October, heavy flooding led to the loss of 19 lives, approximately 30,000 people affected and about 1,800 people displaced in Isiolo, Garissa, Turkana, Lodwar, Moyale, Wajir, Mandera and Kisumu in the Coastal, Western and Northern Eastern Provinces of Kenya. In October 2006, the onset of the rains was timely over most parts of the country where various places started to experience rainfall between the second and third week of the month.

According to the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD), the heavy rainfall was quite evident at Mombasa and Moyale on 15th and 17th October, as rainfall recorded 110.5mm and 124.6mm respectively, within a few hours. Further, according to the KMD, rainfall amounts received in October 2006 alone in the North Eastern Province and the Coastal strip were so high that they exceeded the Long Term Means for the entire October-December rain season.

The rains have now resumed in November with renewed intensity with about 80,000 people already affected and/or displaced countrywide. The rains have caused severe destruction to the infrastructure. Bridges have been washed away and roads linking towns cut off making transportation a nightmare for commuters. The rains have also left many commuters stranded for days without food. Students sitting for national examinations have also been affected. Crops in farmlands have also been destroyed amid fears of renewed food needs among the affected communities as a result of crop destruction.

The timely onset of the 2006 short-rains over some agricultural areas of the country was beneficial to farmers who planted in the right time. According to the KMD, pasture for livestock was expected to thrive in the pastoral areas of North Eastern Province. If the rains pour consistently into December, it will reduce drought and food insecurity in parts of the country, as well as positively increase the water levels in dams, wells, shallow pans, boreholes and the general water table in drought-stricken areas. The level of water for hydroelectric power generation was also expected to improve due to the good rains in the catchments areas, noted the KMD. The forecast indicates that most parts of the country are likely to experience enhanced rainfall into December 2006.

Coast Province

In Kwale District, about 60,000 people have been affected. Flooding submerged homes and 2,000 hectares of farmland since one week of heavy rainfall in Shimba Hills. 1,000 people have been marooned by floods in Vanga location, which is cut off, inaccessible and all electric poles down. Most pit latrines in Vanga have collapsed and most water sources contaminated leading to fears of water borne diseases. 200 people have been affected in Lunga, 1,300 people in Mwangwei, while an unconfirmed number of people have also been affected in Murima, Majoreni, Mbwiti, Mwabila-Samburu and Gasi-Msambweni areas. All these areas are completely impassable. Mrima bridge has been washed away at Mvumoni. Schooling has also been affected in Vanga, Samburu and Kinango. Transportation between Kwale town, Kinango and Tiribe was cut off after Marere River burst its banks and washed away the bridge. Hundreds of passengers have been stranded by the river banks without food. This has also affected trade between various areas as food and other commodities cannot be delivered to markets.

In Kilifi District, 288 people have been displaced and 25 homes destroyed. Areas affected are Township and Mnaraloleni areas.

According to the District Steering Group, 50,000 people are directly affected by the floods and another 200,000 affected indirectly. The Ministry of Health in Mombasa has issued a cholera outbreak alert. According to media reports, six people perished due to cholera following the floods. Residents have blamed the deaths due to poor drainage systems. Some drinking water pipes have also been washed away in Mombasa.

North Eastern Province

In Garissa District, 10,000 people have been displaced. Two people, including a school girl, died after she drowned in a seasonal river. 3 children are reported missing in Saretho and Bakuyu. Pastoralists were also stranded with their animals due to floods. 120 houses are reported submerged in Bakuyu and Ziwani settlements. The residents were forced to move to higher grounds after the river burst its banks and submerged their dwellings and also destroyed crops amid fears of a food crisis. Rains have made most roads impassable in Kotulo, Hulugho, Liboi and Ijara.

Poor drainage has been reported in most parts of Garissa town leading to flooding into houses. 1,600 households have been affected in some villages (Bullas) made up of Makuti thatched houses and mud walls or traditional “heriyo” Somali tukuls. These bullas are adjacent to the river and face dual floods risk of upland flash floods and flooding from the river. These bullas have repeatedly been affected since El Niño phenomena in 2002 and 2003.

In Dadaab, two people lost their lives in Ifo Refugee Camp with another 6,000 people affected by floods. The Garissa–Dadaab road has also been adversely hit by floods. The most affected areas include Kumahumato location, where the Ewaso Nyiro plains have been flooded turning to flat water stream, and Dadaab location where about 200 households have been displaced. The floods have paralysed the EMOP Operation and the areas are completely inaccessible in Modogashe, Shanta, Abak, Jarajila, Sankuri and Benane divisions.

In Wajir District, areas affected were Burna, Korondile, Malkagufu and Ingirir. Lagbogol Bridge has been destroyed and many roads have been cut off. In Isiolo District, heavy rains have not led to any incidences, but may flood Isiolo town if it continues to pound. In Moyale District, 3,000 people are feared displaced in Bori area. Manyatta area is also affected. Many toilets in Moyale have also been submerged leading to a fear of water borne diseases. There is a reported outbreak of malaria. In Mandera District, 2,000 people were displaced in Elwak due to floods.

Ijara District is completely cut off from nearby towns as a result of serious flooding. The area District Commissioner has noted that he does not have information concerning the number of people affected in Ijara because communication has been cut off and inaccessible.

Western Province

In Busia District, Budalangi area flooded mildly due to re-channelling of River Yala. If the rains progress, there is a likelihood of River Nzoia overflowing, further affecting Budalangi. In Migori District, incessant rainfall in the next two weeks is expected to overflow River Kuja and Migori.

Red Cross Action

The National Society personnel have conducted floods assessments in most parts of the country. Further assessment missions are ongoing countrywide as the situation deteriorates. The National Society personnel have had difficulty accessing flooded areas for assessment or to deliver relief assistance due to inaccessibility of areas due to washed away bridges, roads or muddy stretches. The Transport Service Unit team of the National Society in Dadaab carried out evacuation of people affected by the floods. The National Society also dispatched relief food and non-food items to affected areas. Table below shows relief items distributed so far to the floods affected areas:

Non food items

Blanket
Kitchen set
Jerrican
Tarpaulin (MT)
Soap
Bladder tanks
Value in Ksh
Kwale
1,000
500
1,000
500
2,000
1,300,000
Kiifi
2,500
250
250
250
1,000
3
707,500
Lodwar
200
400
800
270,000
Isiolo
1,325
1,000
2,000
780
4,000
2,266,250
Moyale
85
82
Total
4,825
1,950
3,650
1,530
7,800
3
4,543,750

Earlier in October 2006, the National Society distributed the following relief assistance;

In Isiolo District, non-food items for 6,000 people.

In Turkana District, tarpaulins, jerricans, blankets and second-hand clothes, as well as food were also dispatched to assist a further 300 families.

In Kisumu, distributed blankets and mosquito nets to the affected families.

Food items

Unimix
(MT)
Vet. Oil
(MT)
Sugar
(MT)
W/Flour
(MT)
M/Flour
(Bales)
Pulses
(MT)
Cereals
(MT)
Dates
(CTNS)
BP5
(CNTS)
Moyale
2.050
0.370
1.00
1.000
Wajir
16
Isiolo
17
Turkana
1.500
158
Kwale
4
2
2
2
208
72
Total
66.550
2.370
1.000
1.000
158
2
2
208
72

National Society Capacity

The operation will reinforce the capacities of personnel in theaffected Branches. Skills in relief distributions and the awareness of the need for coordinated disaster preparedness will be improved. In addition the National Society plans to organise training for volunteers and other key personnel. Where capacity gaps exist, the National Society may seek technical assistance from International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Partnership and Coordination

The National Society’s Branches in the affected districts have conducted assessments together with the local authorities under the District Steering Group. The Kenya Navy and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) have assisted in transporting students to schools to do their examinations. KWS helicopters have been released to assist in distribution of relief items. The National Society’s Secretary General has been in touch with the concerned ministries in Government and the local administration in the flooded areas to facilitate easy assistance to the people who have been affected. Food dispatches to inaccessible and marooned areas are now ongoing with the involvement of the military helicopters and other logistical support.

The Kenya Red Cross is a member of Kenya Food Security Meeting, which is the main organ for coordination of food security matters. The National Society is also the lead agency in emergency operations in Kwale district. In fulfilling its mandate of alleviating human suffering, the National Society works closely with the Government, WFP and other humanitarian organisations in all food security matters. At the district level, the Branches are members of the District Steering Group (DSG) and are involved in carrying rapid assessments.

The Society co-chairs the Rapid-Onset Disaster Committee with the Office of the President. The Committee is a body that also comprises international NGOs, UN agencies and government ministries. The Rapid-Onset Disaster Committee meeting was held on 14th November 2006 at the Kenya Red Cross Society Headquarters to plan the way forward for the current flood situation. The government representative present noted that the government will act more decisively to mitigate the effects of the floods by setting up a command operation center at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa to coordinate the floods operations. Currently, the government ministries have strategised on how to proceed with the repair of bridges and roads in Kwale and other cut off areas. The government and WFP have food stocks that will be mobilised to assist people in the affected areas, while the Kenya Red Cross may seek local donor support to meet the needs of the displaced and affected people.

The members of the Committee will meet again to plan a rapid assessment mission of the floods situation and determine the exact nature of assistance required. The Committee will meet again within a week at the Kenya Red Cross Society Headquarters.

Kenya Red Cross has built up its preparedness and response capacity from challenges and experiences of past disaster operations. All mitigation programmes are designed with sufficient consultation at community level, using and enhancing community structures where possible, and ensuring an equal representation of men and women at decision-making bodies.

Monitoring and Evaluation

The National Society Headquarters works closely with Branches countrywide in the affected areas to ensure proper delivery of humanitarian assistance to the flood victims. The National Society together with members of the sudden onset disaster committee will assume the overall monitoring role to ensure accountability, timely and quality response.