Kenya

Understanding the status and need for anticipatory early action in lower Tana and lower Athi River Basins

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The Tana River and Athi River basins are the first and second largest² basins in Kenya respectively. The two basins are known to experience flooding during the long (March-April-May) and short (October-November-December) rains and this causes great impact on vulnerable communities living in Garissa, Tana River and Kilifi counties. Some of the impact of the flooding includes; displacement, death, destruction of property, disruption of access to essential health care and related services, irrigation systems and farm equipment, road infrastructure, livelihoods and key installations such as water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. As if that is not enough, these impacts take back the development gains made. To support an anticipatory approach in managing flood impacts, a review of current status of flood management in Garissa, Kilifi and Tana River counties was conducted through literature review conducted over a period of six years (2013 to 2019). The study focused on flooding events, impacts and actions taken. The review revealed that all the actions including, situation assessment, evacuation of people and distribution of non-food items taken to respond to flood events always occur during and after flooding. This implies that within the lower Tana and lower Athi river basins, the management of flood is in response to the hazard rather than in anticipation of the floods.

This is partly due to the lack of a basin-wide flood early warning system, lack of defined anticipatory actions that can be taken following early warning and limited institutional coordination and capacity to support preparedness.