Kenya: Floods Appeal No. 12/03 Operations Update No. 2

This Ops Update is intended for reporting on emergency appeals.
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Launched on 9 May 2003 for CHF 846,000 (USD 645,256 or EUR 560,898) to assist 60,000 beneficiaries for 2 months.
Period covered: 14-15 May, 2003

'At a Glance'

Appeal coverage: 42.7%
Related Appeals: 2003 Annual Appeal for Kenya (01.06/2003)
Outstanding needs: CHF 331,456

The current situation

Heavy rainfall continues throughout much of western and south-western Kenya, worsening the floods devastation. Meteorological forecasts indicate there will be continued rains during the next week. A heavy storm blew off the roof off Imusali primary school in Ikolomani in Machakos district. Most primary schools have not reopened for the last two weeks due to heavy storms that have destroyed roads in Isiolo district. Areas badly affected include Garbatulla, Sericho, Kinna, Oldonyiro divisions. Meanwhile, more than 100 lorries ferrying relief maize to Dadaab refugee camp are stranded at various points on the Garissa-Tana highway as sections of the road to the camp have been washed away by floods.

The Tana river, the country's biggest, may burst its banks anytime, due to overflow from the dams upstream, and experts anticipate massive flooding in the lower parts of Tana River following the filling of the last of the seven dams. Kiambere dam was reported to be spilling nearly half a million litres of excess water per second and was only an hour away from the flow overwhelming the river's banks. The Kenya Utilities Company communications officer reported to Wednesday's emergency co-ordination meeting that areas along the river course in Garissa and Tana River districts are expected to bear the brunt of the excess outflow. He said there was nothing more the company could do to hold the dams' water and that the heavy water inflow from the river's tributaries around Mount Kenya had made the flow impossible to manage. The effects of the Tana floods will be felt downstream in Garissa, Ijara and Bura on 17th May and on the 20th in Garseni-Hola.

In the Tana River district the government has called the recent relocation of residents from the banks of the Tana River as successful saying that most people had heeded the advice to move to higher ground. The land is under communal ownership guaranteeing a right of access to all. The authorities said the situation was still under control and area residents were receiving relief food from the government through a food for work programme that had been going on since before the floods set in. Another 2,000 people have been marooned in the Yala swamp area who may also have to be moved to higher ground. In Budalangi and Nyando, 24,000 IDPs in eight camps are apparently at risk of health problems as there are no storage facilities for clean water.

According to OCHA, Turkana District (north-west Kenya) is receiving heavy rainfall resulting in flooding along rivers Turkwel and Kerio. Along the Turkwel River, crops, farmland and seven irrigation schemes have been washed away. Among the irrigation schemes destroyed are Chirik, Nakwamor, Kaptir, Royapat, Lorigon, Katir and Kainuk. Along the Kerio River, infrastructure including two primary schools has been swept away.

Red Cross and Red Crescent Action

The acting Secretary General of Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), together with the Nairobi Regional Information delegate, accompanied a technical inter-agency team to the most affected areas in Western and Nyanza provinces on 15 May. The team went to assess the impact of the response so far, and to evaluate the outstanding needs.

Meanwhile, the National Society stepped up their distribution and pre-positioning of relief items to Western/Nyanza provinces and other high risk areas. The KRCS sent two lorries to Malindi carrying 100 tents, 2,000 jerry cans and 500 blankets. These are emergency relief stocks pre-positioned for a possible flood relief response need in Garissa and Tana River. Yesterday the following relief items were airlifted by a military helicopter to Kisumu, Budalangi and Nyando:

  • 2,500 blankets
  • 1,000 tarpaulins
  • 500 family kits

The KRCS participates in the Government's regular co-ordination meeting in the Office of the President, where a daily update on the disaster and the responses are shared.

Activities to date

The Kenyan government nominated the Kenya Red Cross as the co-ordinating agency in the country, and initial responses of relief goods and cash came from various local companies and international organisations based in Nairobi. In this role the KRCS is receiving all non-food items from all sources (government, UN agencies, NGOs, private and business community) and then organising distributions of the relief items through their network of branch volunteers to the beneficiaries.

The Federation's Appeal is aiming to cover a portion of the total needs estimated by the government for the people affected. Work is therefore continuing at KRCS to determine which contributions fall under the remit of the Appeal and which are local donations. However, all support through donor Red Cross Societies through the Federation needs to use the Pledge Management Note process to ensure tracking and reporting.

Relief distribution of basic non-food items and outstanding needs as at 16 May 2003

Distributed so far (in total)
Red Cross Appeal
Outstanding (as part of Red Cross Appeal only)
2 pcs/person
60'000 *
1 pcs/family
Jerry cans
2 pcs/family
Mosquito nets
2 pcs/family
Bar Soaps
Residual spray
Chlorine tablets

* Please note: the Appeal text stated 20,000 blankets but the budget covered the purchase of 60,000. Sixty thousand blankets is the correct required number and the original budget does not change. In view of the cold temperatures and shortage of other shelter for many displaced people, the planning figure for distribution is one blanket per person.

The items shown above as already distributed have either been donated as goods-in-kind or purchased with the funds received. We were hoping to have an updated distribution table to present here but electricity cuts in Nairobi over the last days have meant we have been unable to update figures until now. We will aim to present these early next week.

Outstanding needs

See table above. Cash donations are currently being used to procure relief items on the local market and information just received from Kenya show the current outstanding needs under this Appeal to be: soap (80,000 pcs), blankets (31,440 pcs), and tarpaulins (7,500 pcs). The Red Cross has either stocks of, or framework agreements in Nairobi for, the following items: 3,600 plastic sheets (24 hr delivery), 50,000+ blankets, and soap. Other tenders have been received (and remain unopened until confirmation of funding) at the Regional Delegation for tarpaulins, blankets, jerry cans, soap, mosquito nets and water purification tablets. Additional cash support to the appeal is still requested to cover operating expenses and ongoing purchases.

Once tracking and registration of all existing donations has taken place in Nairobi, it is planned to issue a clearer statement of donations through this Appeal in the next days.

Operational Developments

There are further assessment visits being undertaken today and regular government co-ordination meetings to discuss developments and emerging needs, and we will aim to issue another update highlighting developments over the weekend. The KRCS is confident it can handle the operation so far with technical support from the Regional Delegation.

Current reports are that the situation may be worsening in other areas also, and if this is confirmed additional needs may be requested through a revised Appeal.

For further details please contact: Martin Fisher in the Africa Department, Phone : 41 22 730 4440; Fax: 41 22 733 03 95; email:

All International Federation Operations seek to adhere to the Code of Conduct and are committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

This operation seeks to administer to the immediate requirements of the victims of this disaster. Subsequent operations to promote sustainable development or longer-term capacity building will require additional support, and these programmes are outlined on the Federation's website.

For further information concerning Federation operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at