Tana River County like most of the Arid and Semi-Arid regions in Kenya, is vulnerable to acute human suffering and loss of development assets brought about by disasters which are caused by both natural and human induced hazards. The main hazards which cause disasters in the county are; floods, drought, conflict and human and livestock diseases. Traditionally flooding in Tana River County was deemed a blessing since farmers and fishermen maximized on this opportunity to plant crops as well as undertake fishing. However, with the increase in population living along the river coupled with ecological disturbance in the catchment areas, flooding has become more of a curse to Tana residents as it more often results in flooding. The flooding leads to; displacement of people, destruction of crops, property and infrastructure and waterborne diseases.
As the frequency and intensity of flood events is expected to increase with climate change, as a county, we all need to appreciate the adverse impacts these events could have and the threat these will pose to communities at risk in the county if we don’t act. These events also pose a threat to our livelihood as a county impeding the realization of the County CIDP and the national Vision 2030. There is need to take action now and in future to mitigate the negative impacts of floods and establish a situation where present and future generations will have better livelihoods that can sustain their well-being, live in peace and enjoy good health.
The development and implementation of effective and reliable flood early warning communication systems in Tana River County is key in forewarning and reducing the impacts of floods in the county. Going forward the County government will in collaboration with other key stakeholders ensure that the strategy is effectively implemented with a focus on;
• Extending the lead time of warning
• Improving context appropriateness of warnings
• Enhancing greater participation and ownership of the forecasts by county and affected communities
• Strengthening effective communication and dissemination structure for early warnings
• Enhance use of appropriate channel to alert the affected communities
• Ensure warning messages are understood by users
• Right targeting of warning service to relevant and specific users