8 January 2013

Kenya: Plan to Relocate 6,000 People From Kerio Valley Underway

The government will relocate 6,000 people who live in areas prone to mudslides and floods in Kerio Valley under a land exchange programme. Some 13 people were killed by mudslides in the region last week following heavy rains.

The government has planned to have the families surrender their land in exchange for forest lands on the highlands of Keiyo South.Special Programmes minister Esther Murugi who visited the region after the mudslides said she will table a proposal to Cabinet to approve the planned land exchange.

She has confirmed that they are holding negotiations with the Forestry ministry to endorse the plan and allow part of the forests be given to the families.

"We have identified some 6,000 people living in the risky areas and the plan to relocate them is underway," said Keiyo South DC Arthur Bunde.

He said the affected families are living in very risky areas and the relocation will avert disasters which occur every year due to floods and mudslides.

More than 1,000 people were displaced by the mudslides and are yet to return to their homes.The government will issue title deeds to IDPs and forest evictees who have been resettled.Murugi has ordered the provincial administration to ensure the resettlement of the IDPs and evictees is completed by the end of the month.

The government has identified several pieces of land where the Mau and Embobut forests evictees alongside those displaced by the 2007-08 post-election violence will be resettled before the general election.

It government had set aside more than Sh3 billion for the resettlement but land was not readily available."We have identified land and we will resettle most of the victims in the next few weeks," Murugi said.

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