Kenya

Kenya: Landslide Information Bulletin No.1

The Situation

Two landslides occurred at 4:00am and 11:00am on 11th August 2007 at Khasavali village, Kabras East Location, located at the border of Kakamega North District and Nandi North, following a night long downpour. By 12th August 2007, upto 39 people were reported injured and rushed to Malava District Hospital, Kakamega Provincial General Hospital and Webuye Sub-District Hospital with bruises on their limbs, chest and muscles. Many of the injured received First Aid attention before they were rushed to hospital. So far two bodies have been retrieved from the landslide. It is feared that between 16 and 20 people are still missing and feared buried beneath the tones of mud. This was also based on information from villagers living in the area that their relatives were missing.

The majority of those buried had gone to rescue those who had been buried by the first landslide when they too were buried by the second landslide. Rescue efforts have been hampered by heavy rains making the hillside very risky. The disaster site is still very dangerous as the loose earth is likely to sweep down the hillside. Four houses were completed buried by the mud and many more houses unaccounted for. Livestock, property, trees and crops were also washed down the 200-metre sloppy hill. Large crowds continue to mill around the base of the escarpment. The landslide has been attributed to heavy rains and underwater streams from up the mountain that loosened up the earth. Kakamega, in the western part of Kenya, is a mountainous area and is not prone to landslide.

Red Cross Action

The Kenya Red Cross commissioned 32 Red Cross volunteers from Bungoma, Kakamega, Eldoret, Kisumu and Lugari Branches to aid in the search, rescue and evacuation operation. The operation has now moved to the retrieval of bodies trapped beneath the mud as 24 hours have passed without locating the missing persons. The Kenya Red Cross has set up a rescue and information centre and pitched 9 shelters to accommodate 9 families that had been evacuated from their homes for fear of further landslides.

The Kenya Red Cross has already distributed blankets, kitchen sets, mosquito nets, jerricans, tarpaulins (shelter) and bars of soap to the affected families. Search and rescue equipment and protective gear have been dispatched from the Headquarters to Kakamega. A temporary mortuary has been set up with body bags provided by the Kenya Red Cross. Families of the missing persons and the injured will receive psycho-social counseling from the Kenya Red Cross personnel. Two trucks and evacuation vehicles are currently on standby for any further response. The Kenya Red Cross operation will be maintained for as long as it will take to retrieve those still buried.

Coordination

The Kenya Red Cross volunteers have been digging through the mud in shifts with shovels and jembes, assisted by the local community, since the disaster struck early on 11th August 2007. The digging has been very painstaking due to the thickness of the soil and the collection of large mounds of earth. The Kenya Red Cross has put up lighting to aid in the night time search efforts. Also present at the disaster site is the Minister for Special Programmes, the Western Deputy Provincial Police Officer, Malava DC, Area Member of Parliament, Malava Provincial Medical Officer of the Ministry of Health, among others.

This Information Bulletin (no. 1/2007) reflects the information available at this time. For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

Mr. Abbas Gullet, Secretary General, Kenya Red Cross Society, Email; gullet.abbas@kenyaredcross.org Phone 254.20.60.35.93; 254.20.60.86.81/13 Fax 254.20.60.35.89

Dr. James Kisia, Deputy Secretary General, Kenya Red Cross Society, Email; kisia.james@kenyaredcross.org Phone 254.20.60.35.93; 254.20.60.86.81/13 Fax 254.20.60.35.89

Mr. Ahmed Abdi, Head of Department, Disaster Preparedness and Response, Kenya Red Cross Society; Email; abdi.ahmed@kenyaredcross.org Phone 254.20.60.35.93; 254.20.60.86.81 Fax 254.20.60.35.89

Mr. Anthony Mwangi, Public Relations Manager, Kenya Red Cross Society, Email; info@kenyaredcross.org Phone 254.20.60.35.93; 254.20.60.86.81/13 Fax 254.20.60.35.89 Mobile: +254-721-551342

All Kenya Red Cross Society assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning the Kenya Red Cross Society programmes or operations, or for a full description of the Society's profile, please access the Kenya Red Cross Society Website at http://www.kenyaredcross.org or the Federation's Website at http://www.ifrc.org

The Kenya Red Cross Society's mission is to build capacity and respond with vigour, compassion and empathy to those affected by disaster and at risk, in the most effective and efficient manner. It works closely with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 185 countries.