Kenya's flood-affected children in need of psychosocial support

NAIROBI – Thousands of children forced to flee their homes due to recent floods may be in need of psychosocial support, World Vision is warning.

More than 127,000 Kenyan children have been displaced by flooding following heavy rains in recent weeks.

Some have witnessed the death of loved ones who have died or seen their homes destroyed by flooding.

The estimated total death toll from the flood now stands at about 180 based on UNICEF statistics.

“The water came and it started killing people, it started sweeping houses away and taking away shoes, clothes, all our things. It killed many people,” remembers 12-year-old Abdi, who ran for safety after a flash flood devastated his community.

At an early education centre in Solai, teacher Edith Gathoni sits amidst dozens of pre-schoolers watching a carpenter repairing destroyed desks.

“We lost eight children. Even now, they talk about those who have died, that’s all they’ve been talking about,” Edith says.

UNICEF is reporting that more than 14,000 children require child-centred support to ensure their safety and address psychosocial needs.

“Children who have been through a traumatic event may act withdrawn or reserved. They need to re-establish a sense of normalcy in a safe space and be able to learn how to identify, express and manage their emotions,” says Jacqueline Rioba, Associate Director for disaster management at World Vision Kenya.

Psychosocial support is an approach that combines psychological assistance to help children process their experiences with creating positive social environments to interact with others.

“For people who have experienced potentially traumatic events, psychosocial support can help them to cope, heal and find hope for the future,” notes Francois Batalingaya, National Director, World Vision Kenya. “Children are always the hardest hit and most affected by natural disasters.”

World Vision is responding to those affected by floods, distributing blankets, soap, buckets, cooking pots, mosquito nets and food items, along with psychosocial support activities for children.

Already, the organization has provided relief assistance to more than 10,000 people and plans to reach another 36,000 people in the weeks to come.


Fast Facts:

Since flooding began in March 2018:
• 6,612 schools have reported damages, affecting learning for over 2 million children
• 739 schools have been temporarily closed, affecting learning for about 332,000 children
• 127,370 children have been displaced by the floods
• About 14,600 children (55 per cent girls) require child-centred support to ensure their safety and psychosocial well-being

About World Vision:

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.

For an interview with World Vision staff or for more information, please contact:

May Ondeng
Communications Manager
World Vision Kenya
Cell: +254 712 267655

Mark Nonkes
Disaster Communication Advisor
East Africa Regional Office | World Vision International
Cell: +254 735 174 956 | Skype: marknonkes