Kenya

Floods wreck havoc in Kenya

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Many parts of Kenya felt the impact of floods following incessant short rains since the second week of October 2006. 17 people died, approximately 30,000 people affected and about 1,800 others displaced by the raging floods. Residents of the Coastal, Western and Northern region of the country were adversely affected, with some losing property and livelihood. The most affected districts were Mombasa mainland, Kwale, Kilifi, Isiolo, Turkana, Moyale and parts of Kisumu district.

In Moyale District, rainfall was reported for three consecutive days resulting in flooding that affected over 9,000 people. The main road from Isiolo to Moyale and Isiolo to Wajir became impassable as vehicles got stuck in the mud. At least 100 foreign tourists were reportedly evacuated from luxury hotels and safari lodges in northern Kenya, as heavy rains pounded the area. In Mandera District, some manyattas were washed away.

In Kilifi District, the seasonal rivers burst their banks causing heavy flooding in the region. Four people were swept away as they crossed a submerged bridge, while the fifth drowned as he waded across a river. Five children lost their lives in Mombasa when a landslide triggered by the downpour buried them alive.

Main roads and bridges to and from Kaloleni were cut off at Kombeni, Mwereni in Mariakani and Jimba at Kokotoni. The main bridge linking the Mazeras to Kaloleni was washed away and most people who work within Mombasa town were left stranded. The residents of Kaloleni were forced to use a 120-km longer route to Mombasa through Kilifi town, while initially the distance through the bridge was a mere 50kms.

In Kikambala area, the main water supply pipeline was cut off at Kombeni. The worst hit areas were learning institutions, especially Kombeni Girls, Ribe Boys and Ribe Girls secondary schools. According to the Kombeni D.O, 15 houses were destroyed in the same area. In Kwale District, 39 households were affected with an unspecified number of household items destroyed. Over 27 acres of maize crop were destroyed by the floods, while two cows, five goats and 23 chickens drowned.

In Isiolo District, flash floods were reported in Central Division affecting over 10,000 people. The floods were caused by heavy downpour in Meru Hills, which caused flooding in the Isiolo lowlands. In the north-central region of Isiolo, a popular destination for tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of wildlife at one of three game reserves, the River Ewaso Nyiro burst its banks and flooded two hotels. Hundreds of residents of Malkagala, Merti and Gafarsa locations of Isiolo were left homeless after River Ewaso Nyiro burst its banks. Many people in Isiolo lost their livestock to drought and the few that survived were now swept away by the floodwaters.

In Turkana District, two people died in Lodwar following the flash floods, which were reported as the worst in 40 years. Water levels had reached approximately one metre high. Over 105 families were affected, 54 houses destroyed and 835 people displaced. Three primary schools were closed. 27 farms along the Turkwell River were destroyed and 754 goats and sheep were washed away.

The Kenya Red Cross Society's Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Malindi Branches conducted assessments of the disaster areas together with the District Officers. The Society also worked with the Kenya Navy to rescue those who were marooned by floods.

Non-food items were dispatched to assist 1,000 families in Isiolo. 250 jerricans, 500 mosquito nets, 600 pieces of soap, 250 kitchen sets, 250 tarpaulins, 1,000,000 aqua tablets, blankets and second-hand clothes were dispatched to the affected families in Mombasa. In addition, three water bladders were dispatched to three affected schools in Kilifi. Further, tarpaulins, jerricans, blankets and second hand clothes, as well as food were also dispatched to assist 300 families in Turkana District. The National Society's Kisumu Branch also distributed blankets and mosquito nets to the affected families.

The flooding in some parts of Kenya has been precipitated by severe weather developments in neighbouring countries such as Ethiopia and Somalia, which had experienced severe flooding. The weather forecasters have indicated that there is a likelihood that the rains would continue for some more weeks into December 2006, but with less intensity. With this in mind, the Kenya Red Cross pre-positioned relief non-food items in Eastern, Coast, Nyanza and Nairobi Provinces.