Kenya: Mwanamgeni Kahindi: "Floods left me destitute"

KIKAMBALA, 28 June 2007 (IRIN) - Mwanamgeni Kahindi, a 30-year-old mother of two, owned a small food kiosk at Kikambala area of Kilifi district in Kenya's Coast Province until floods destroyed it in May.

"We did not expect the severe flooding. We thought the water would flow into the sea. That, however, did not happen. The water kept rising.

"One morning I arrived and found everything swept away - my cooking pots, cups and plates and uncooked food. The home of the family that used to live here [near the kiosk] was submerged. They had to move and I do not think they will be coming back.

"Now I will have to start from scratch, but I do not have the money. My husband is a labourer who depends on whatever odd jobs he can find. Earnings from the kiosk were modest, but they were steady.

"The problem in Kikambala is that people built homes in areas that used to be drainage paths for rainwater into the sea. Water flows from higher ground to low-lying areas where it just stagnates and submerges houses because it cannot flow into the sea. Unless drainage is improved, there will be flooding again during the rainy season in October and November.

"Look, the water is still here - there are so many mosquitoes. Those without nets can hardly sleep at night. Something must be done to stop these recurring floods. Authorities forget about the flood problem as soon as the rainy season comes to an end, but it will happen again."