Ongoing floods in Kenya have claimed at least 116 lives and displaced 100 000 families, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa reported Wednesday, April 28, 2020, as he addressed the media.
Some 29 counties have been affected by the severe weather, and forecasters warned that the situation may not improve soon.
"So far, we have lost 116 lives in different parts of the country and over 100 000 households were affected by the floods. Rains continue to pound; people will have to keep moving to safer grounds as the rains will continue into May," Wamalwa said.
However, the number of families in dire need of emergency response could be higher, Wamalwa noted, given the challenges in gathering data on the government's side.
40 000 bags of rice have been provided to the afflicted counties. Wamalwa remarked that all counties have set up an emergency unit to help manage the issues.
"In total, we have released over 40 000 bags of 25 kg (55 lbs) rice, fortified feeds, thousands of vegetable oil cartons, non-food items to 20 counties that is, 550 bags per each sub-county affected by floods. Next week we shall be releasing more to cushion the floods affected families."
Among the preventive measures, the devolution ministry was considering to build new dams to contain waters, in the event of rivers becoming swollen.
Persistent rains in parts of Mount Kenya and the Aberdares regions have resulted in an increase of water levels spilled by the Seven Fork dams. Landslides have also been affecting parts of the country.
He added, "We are also releasing face masks and sanitizers to families. Even as we distribute food, we want to ensure that we do not take coronavirus there. We have enough food to support all those displaced."
More than 37 million dollars or four billion shillings has been disbursed to the areas to construct capacity regarding COVID-19.
Eugene Wamalwa, CS, Devolution: 29 counties are currently affected by floods; we have stepped up support to those counties by supplying over 40,000 bags of rice & other assorted items. County Governments will have to allocate more funds for disaster management #DayBreak pic.twitter.com/Ki23PGUTW5— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) April 30, 2020
Eugene Wamalwa, CS, Devolution: New dams are under construction, we are urging Kenyans to cooperate with Government. We have funds to sustain these measures long term #DayBreak pic.twitter.com/H0tUUTullE— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) April 30, 2020
This is the flooded River Yala Bridge, at Ugenya Constituency.— Uzalendo News (@UzalendoNews_KE) April 30, 2020
A disaster waiting to happen?
River Yala has previously bursted its banks causing floods in Yimbo, Alego and Kadenge among other areas of Siaya County.
.#Kenya #Floods @KenyanTraffic @KeNHAKenya pic.twitter.com/hQi7zLQ7Nx
Yesterday, Secretary General Dr. @AshaMohammed_ led Kenya Red Cross volunteers in distributing household items to 650 families displaced by floods in Nyando, Kisumu.— Kenya Red Cross (@KenyaRedCross) April 30, 2020
The 650 are among over 8000 households displaced in the latest round of flooding that has hit Western Kenya. pic.twitter.com/T9XksFGLWR
Wamalwa said both levels of the government, in partnership with humanitarian organizations, are stepping up in terms of disaster preparedness.
"As we today step up relief support to affected Counties and families facing a humanitarian crisis occasioned by floods and landslides in different parts of the country, we remain eternally grateful to our fellow Kenyans working around the clock through the weekend to save lives."
Featured image credit: Kenya Red Cross Society