Kenya

Families warned of possible landslides in Marakwet

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By BARNABAS BII

In Summary

  • The families in Kittony, Embobut and Kakisoo villages in Marakwet East District have been advised to relocate to safer areas to avoid a catastrophe.

  • Kenya Red Cross Society has appealed to the government to evacuate the families to safer grounds to avoid losses due to the impending landslides.

  • Three years ago, landslides hit Kittony village killing 15 people and injuring several others.

More than 50,000 people in three villages in Elgeyo-Marakwet County have been warned of possible landslides due to the heavy rains pounding parts of the North Rift region.

The families in Kittony, Embobut and Kakisoo villages in Marakwet East District have been advised to relocate to safer areas to avoid a catastrophe in the area which is normally hit by recurrent landslides during rainy season.

The Kenya Red Cross Society has appealed to the government to evacuate the families to safer grounds to avoid losses due to the impending landslides.

“The government needs to come up with permanent solution by settling the families in safer areas since the current location has proved inhabitable due to landslides,” said Kennedy Mulama, the Kenya Red Cross programme manager in charge of the North Rift region.

Three years ago, landslides hit Kittony village killing 15 people and injuring several others.

GEOLOGISTS' WARNING

A team of geologists who toured the place following the tragedy declared the area as unfit for human settlement.

“The area is prone to landslides due to the steep topography and loss soil making it inhabitable,” said Mr Mulama.

At the same time floods caused by the on-going heavy rains have disrupted distribution of relief food to famine stricken families in the region.

Relief distribution agencies Wednesday said they were experiencing difficulties accessing families faced with starvation in remote areas due to impassable roads due to heavy rains pounding the region.

“The county governments need to repair some of the damaged roads to facilitate smooth distribution of the relief road,” said Mr Mulama.

The heavy rains pounding the region come after a five month dry spell that led to failure of the maize crop planted in March and April 2014.

“Families in landslide-prone parts of the region have to be relocated to safer areas to avoid catastrophes as a result of the heavy rains as has happened in the past,” said Mr Mulama.

AREAS HARD HIT

He named parts of Pokot South Sub-County, Elgeyo-Marakwet and sections of Nandi County as areas hard hit by landslides caused by heavy rains.

'We have partnered with the county government and other humanitarian agencies in the region in sensitising the public on disaster preparedness,” disclosed Mr Mulama.

He said the Kenya Red Cross Society has stored non-food items, drugs and water purifiers as part of precautionary measures to mitigate the effects of floods.

“Disaster management teams are on the ground to help avert any catastrophes that may be caused by landslides and mudslides due to heavy rain which continue to pound the region,” said Mr Mulama.

Apart from the poor state of roads, an upsurge in insecurity caused by fresh armed conflict between members of the Pokot and Turkana communities is another factor slowing down the distribution of the relief supplies.