Kenya

Operations Update: Kenya - Floods update No. 7

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Situation Report
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This Information Bulletin (no. 7/2006) reflects the information available at this time.

The Situation

Torrential rainfall continues to pour countrywide, leaving a trail of destruction to the country's already battered infrastructure. Thousands of people in the areas affected by the floods have lost their sources of livelihood and a sense of bleakness seems to hang over them as they look into the future. There are renewed fears of outbreak of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea and malaria even as the water levels subside in a number of areas. According to the media three people have died while 35 others are admitted following an outbreak of cholera in Moyale. According to statistics collected by the Kenya Red Cross Society through a compilation from media reports, 114 people have died due to the floods between 22nd October and 9th December 2006.

While the rains have subsided in some others, other areas such as Budalang'i in Western Kenya, and in Garsen in the Coastal region, have seen a steady increase in the number of those affected. Water levels are high near both Lake Victoria and Tana Basins. According to FEWSNET, river basins continue to receive additional precipitation despite the rivers already above flood stage along various portions of their course. While the Kenya Meteorological Department has indicated that the rains will progress into December 2006, other global weather forecasts have indicated that the rains could continue into March 2007.

In Garissa, the roads are still impassable. An EMOP Distribution was conducted in Skansa. Airdrops were conducted to aid communities marooned by floods. This was parallel to the Emergency Operation (EMOP) in Skansa, Ilan and Garsen targeting 600,000 people.

In Elwak, Mandera District, 2,000 families were displaced and forced to camp in schools. There are fears of diarrhoeal diseases and malaria outbreak. Three major locations were affected in Mandera District, including Elwak town, Elhache and Elagarsu. In Elwak town, over 5,000 people have been displaced, while over 2,000 people were displaced in Engolicha and Elkala. Since the wells and toilets are all in the same level because of the water table, all sources of water are contaminated thus there are grave fears of diarrhoeal diseases.

In the nearby Mandera, the heavy rainfall that poured on 4th December 2006, made an already bad situation worse. The whole town is now under water. Those who are displaced make up 70% of the population. People are being mobilised to safer areas at five primary schools in Elwak town. The immediate needs are food, non-food items, medicine and shelter, which can only be airlifted.

In Banisa division, 150 families were displaced after the Banisa town dam broke and spread water towards some settlements. Roads in the area have been destroyed and are completely impassable. The people moved to higher ground.

In Garissa, the number of children with diarrhoea diseases has increased from 64 to 86. Malaria cases have also been reported. In Wajir, following heavy rainfall during the first week of December 2006, Ewaso Nyiro River made areas such as Dilmanyale, Abakore, Meri, Biyamathow, Sarif, Sabule Diif and Dadajabula completely inaccessible. In other areas some water pans broke their banks and flooded villages. Many shallow wells have been contaminated with human waste through seepage. Other flooded areas include Gogof, Minor W/S, and Medina estate. The main roads from Garissa, Isiolo and Mandera have been cut-off and only 4X4 wheel vehicles can pass. No lorry or bus has reached Wajir for a month and therefore there is serious shortage of food, fuel and other commodities in all the centres including Wajir town. Food prices have escalated where a bag of 50kg sugar is going for Ksh 4,500 from Ksh 2,300. In addition, 20 health centres are inaccessible to health workers and there are therefore fears of shortage of medication.

Western Province

In Budalang'i, Busia District, one person died when one more dyke - the southern dyke - broke down on 31st November 2006. Approximately 12,500 people are displaced in Budalang'i. There are a few more isolated people still camped on top of dykes and the National Society is trying to reach them and evacuate them using community boats. A few people are still marooned. Some families are still staying in their homes in Rukala, Maduwa, Bulwani, Iyanga and Osieko. The road from Rwambwa to Maumau has been cut off at a place called Makunda Secondary School. Musoma and Lugale camps can only be accessed by boat. Those affected are camped at Muhobola Health Centre, Lugare Primary School and Musoma Primary School.

Coast Province

In Bura and Kwale, people are still camped at primary schools though water levels are subsiding. In Kwale, two diarrhoeal cases have been reported, while in Bura there are several reported cases of malaria and cholera. In Tana River, the main affected areas are Kalole and Wenje. In Garsen, over 3,000 families were displaced and out of these the Red Cross has not been able to reach 1,542 as they are marooned. There is one confirmed case of cholera and a number of suspected cases. There is an increase in diarrhoeal diseases in both Kilifi and Mombasa.

Eastern Province

In Mwingi and in many other areas in the province, water levels have subsided, but bridges have broken down and are washed away. Many areas are inaccessible due to the destruction of infrastructure. More than 200 households are now displaced in Mwingi in around three divisions i.e. Central, Kyuso and Nguni Divisions and parts of Migwani. River Enziu and Thunguthu broke its bank and flooded the lower parts of Mwingi leaving 210 households affected. The residents are spending nights in the cold and others have been housed by their neighbours.

Nyanza Province

In Migori, the downpour has reduced, but 380 families have been displaced. Out of this, 320 families have not been reached. The most affected areas are Migori-Nyatike, West and East Karachuonyo and Sangaro in Nyakach. Also in Migori, 38 people have been rescued from the floods. Unconfirmed reports indicate that 9 bodies are still unaccounted for, while the bodies of two children and one woman were recovered on 7th December 2006. 72 families are camping along the river waiting for the bodies to float.

In Nyatike, about 3,000 people were affected with about 750 of them displaced by flooding caused by incessant heavy rainfall. Nyatike is in a lowland and covers four sub-locations, that is, Kakelo, lower west Kalyuor, lower south Kandem. Malaria is on the increase, as well as waterborne diseases due to major sanitation problems.

Red Cross Action

Since the onset of the floods countrywide, the National Society has distributed relief items such as blankets, kitchen sets, tarpaulins, bars of soap, chlorine tablets, water, mosquito nets, cooking oil, rice, canned beans, Unimix and used clothes worth Ksh 31.2 million.

In Bura, a WFP donation of high-energy biscuits was distributed by the National Society in Male, 20 kms from Bura town, targeting 408 households, and a further distribution of 500 mosquito nets to about 300 families. The Red Cross Action Team (RCAT) members had earlier introduced a distribution card to all registered Internally Displaced People (IDP). 124 households were registered in Morokani, 6 kms from Bale town.

In Budalang'i, Busia District, a truck with relief items was sent to the area, but was stuck for a while and later arrived in the designated area and distribution, through the National Society's Busia Branch, of relief items was conducted. The Branch has distributed blankets, mosquito nets, kitchen sets, tarpaulins, bar soap, aqua tabs and jerricans to 1,054 families. Further distribution was carried out also for 125 families and later again on 8th December 2006 for more of the affected people. The National Society, together with the Provincial Administration, is trying to convince the residents to move to safe grounds. The National Society also gave food and non-food items through the Kakamega Branch. An additional IDP camp was created at Igingo Primary School for 65 families. The National Society is currently conducting further assessments on the ground.

The National Society's Migori Branch has donated non-food items to those camped along the lake and doubled the number of relief non food items for 20 families. The National Society's Mwingi Branch responded to the affected people in Mwingi by donating 30 packets of unimix mostly to assist children. The National Society is happy to report that after 45 days cut-off from the external access due to impassable roads caused by severe flooding, Red Cross trucks finally rolled into Masalani in Ijara District with tonnes of relief supplies. More than 315,000 people are cut off as a result of destroyed road links and bridges countrywide.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

Abbas Gullet, Secretary General, Email: gullet.abbas@kenyaredcross.org.

Dr. Asha Mohamed, Deputy Secretary General, Email: mohamed.asha@kenyaredcross.org

Abdi Shakur, Acting Head of Disaster Preparedness and Response, Email: abdi.shakur@kenyaredcross.org

Anthony Mwangi, Public Relations Manager, Email: info@kenyaredcross.org