Kenya

Kenya: Landslide Information Bulletin No.2

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.

In Brief

The Situation

More minor landslides were experienced at the hillside of Khasavali village, Kabras East Location, located at the border of Kakamega North District and Nandi North, following intermittent rainfall on 12th and 13th August 2007. The disaster site is still very risky due to the loose earth, which is likely to trigger an avalanche of mud down the hillside at any time. A total of 65 people have now been reported injured and treated in Malava District Hospital, Kakamega Provincial General Hospital and Webuye Sub-District Hospital. Five bodies have been retrieved from the landslide as of 13th August 2007 and another 13 people are still missing and feared buried beneath the mud.

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. The landslide has been attributed to heavy rains and underground 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 has increased the number of volunteers digging the hillside to 40, and many more are on standby. These are volunteers from Bungoma, Kakamega, Eldoret, Kisumu and Lugari Branches commissioned to aid in the search, rescue, evacuation and recovery/retrieval operation. The operation has now moved to a recovery phase. The Kenya Red Cross has set up an information centre and pitched 10 temporary shelters to accommodate 14 families that had been evacuated from their homes for fear of further landslides. Further, the Kenya Red Cross has already distributed relief non-food items to the affected families, set up a temporary morgue, set up lighting to aid in the night time search efforts, and organized for psycho-social counseling and necessary logistics support. 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. 50 personnel from the National Youth Service (NYS) have joined the recovery operation. Heavy duty machinery is also on the site to speed up the recovery process. The local administration has noted that the military is also expected at the disaster site. Food donations have been received from organizations in Kakamega and members of the community. This has been used to feed the displaced and affected families.

This Information Bulletin (no. 2/2007) 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