Kenya: Floods - Inaccessible Villages and Safer Grounds

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Heavy rains and floods in more than 15 districts in Kenya from December 2009 have left at least 24 people and 6,000 livestock dead, with unconfirmed number of missing persons, destruction of hundreds of houses and infrastructure, worth millions of shillings.

Rains have subsided in some districts that were severely affected by floods, but thousands of people are yet to return to their homes. In Turkana, more than 10,000 people are camping along the Loriu ranges. Areas that remain inaccessible after being cut off by floods include Kaemomeri, Kangisaja, Mugur, Kotoro, Nauwamoru, Naur, Nakwachawae, Nakouemong, Lomunyenakwan and Nakorea.

Torrential rains in parts of West Kenya Region have heightened sensitisation activities among communities in flood-prone areas, especially Nyanza Province, in readiness for evacuation to higher grounds once floods are detected.

Below is the latest countrywide floods situation:

North Rift Region

The impact of the current Eli Nino rains has been heavily felt in Kainuk and Katilu divisions of Turkana South District, and Lokori Division in Turkana East District. Heavy rains have also wreaked havoc in Turkana Central District especially Turkwel, Central and Kerio divisions where some people, livestock, houses and infrastructure were washed away or severely affected by floods.

In Turkana East District, the floods extensively eroded Morulem Scheme after the rivers burst their banks. At least five main bridges collapsed, 20 pit latrines destroyed, 1000 acres of land and infrastructure destroyed/submerged. Almost the entire Morulem village and Morulem Primary School Dormitory were flooded, and the road network linking Lokori and other centers has been cut off.

At least 3,157 households in Morulem have been affected by floods, which destroyed farms and a water pump house. The entire community has been evacuated to Kangitit, which is a high ground, and people are now camping at Lokori RCEA Church.

Kenya Red Cross Society?s assessment indicates the need for evacuation and resettlement of people, provision of tents to 3,157 households affected, relief food, river bank protection to avoid more water over flow, reconstruction of the main bridge connecting Lokori to Morulem and other centers. There is need for more drugs to combat diarrhoea and cholera-related cases in the camps. Farmers have appealed for help to protect or relocate a generator house as it is in danger of being washed away by floods, should the rains persist.

In Turkana Central District, destruction due to heavy rains and floods has been reported in Lodwar town (Looyo and Napetet villages), Kerio and Turkwel areas. There were heavy losses in shelter, livestock and infrastructure, besides loss of lives. KRCS assessment team was unable to access some areas in Turkwel and Kerio due to dilapidated roads and flooded rivers. A detailed assessment has been planned later in the week once the roads become passable.

Turkana North District received normal rains this week and there are no serious cases due to floods.

The Government has donated 1,500 bags of maize from the National Cereals and Produce Board, which KRCS trucks have been transporting to the affected areas.

The World Vision donated blankets (862), bar soaps (1,800), jerricans (200), mosquito nets (800), gunny bags (100) and two 5000ltr water tanks. The World Vision has also pledged to provide medical syrup, chlorine and 160 iron sheets to support reconstruction of Morulem Primary School Dormitory.

South Rift Region

Heavy rains have flooded parts of Lower Subukia partly destroying two houses and affected two families, who were forced to seek temporary shelter in neighbouring homes.

A six-year old boy who drowned in the floods was rescued in time and is currently admitted at Nyahururu District Hospital, and is in a stable condition. Some bridges were washed rendering some areas inaccessible.

In Narok, no rains have been reported, but there is stagnant water in Suswa following the previous heavy downpour. KRC S has received relief maize from the Government to be distributed to those affected by the floods.

A landslide alert has been reported in Segerot and the provincial administration has advised residents in the areas to relocate to safer grounds.

In Koibatek, the District Management Committee has requested KRCS to profile the affected people between 7-10 January 2010. No more rains have been reported in the area over the last two days.

In Naivasha, there is still stagnant water at Kikopey and Maela areas. Light showers were recorded yesterday. KRCS has distributed aqua tabs to 700 households in Maai Mahiu and 150 households in Kioto.

Central Region

Heavy rains experienced in Laikipia West have caused River Ngare Narok to burst its banks, causing destruction in nearby homes. Two people were swept away by the floods and had not been traced by evening on 6th January 2010. Some 150 homes were destroyed forcing the residents to relocate to higher grounds. At least 900 persons have been affected by floods, among them 200 children. The ranging floods also destroyed crops in the farms.

The KRCS assessment team has reported an urgent need for shelter, food and non-food items, water treatment and sanitation facilities.

West Kenya

The water levels at River Nzoia gauging station was at 1.56m, which is below the alert warning level - normally 3.50m.

Homabay and the surrounding areas are still at high risk of flash floods. In Nyando zone, River Nyando, Awach and Nyalbiego water levels have been rising and water has overflown the banks. Residents of the flood-prone areas likely to be affected have been put on high alert, in readiness to move to safer grounds in case of flooding.

KRCS response teams in all districts in the region are on high alert, ready to respond to any anticipated floods and disasters. The teams continue to monitor the situation in flood prone districts (Homa Bay, Rachuonyo, Migori, Nyatike and Nyando), following incidences of flash floods, river overflows and heavy rains.

Also ongoing is community sensitisation campaigns, where residents are prepared to relocate to safer grounds or institutions in case floods warning, in order to avert massive losses associated with floods year after year.