Kenya: Floods Destroy Crops, Displace Families in Western and Nyanza

1 December 2019

Several families in Western and Nyanza regions are counting losses following the heavy rains that have been experiences across the country.

In Kisumu County, at least 600 people have been displaced in fresh floods after River Nyando broke its banks.

PROPERTY DESTROYED

Residents of Kakola-Ombaka area on Sunday experienced floods which destroyed property. The worst hit villages were Kariwindi South, Kanyipola and Kasambura-Kamahawa.

Residents said the floods, which started on Wednesday, spread into the villages and marooned houses, schools and churches.

Some managed to rescue their animals and household items using boats. Ms Jane Omondi, a mother of three lost her chicken and crops.

"All my food crops have been washed away by the floods, I managed to rescue a few chickens," she said.

Mr Jacob Ogola, a resident of Kakola Ombaka village asked the county and national governments to come to their aid. Mr Joseph Awuor Omollo's home was submerged by water.

"We are asking the county government to come to our rescue," said Mr Omollo.

Kakola-Ombaka Chief Jacob Ongudi said some flood victims have moved to their relatives' homes while others moved to rescue centres.

"Four villages Kaloo, Giko, Wangara and Kasumba /Kamahawa are the hardest hit," Mr Ongudi said.

"With the help of Red Cross, we are helping them move to Nyamasa Primary School, Ombaka Catholic Church and River of Life Church," Mr Ongudi said.

He said Kisumu County government should set up a medical camp in affected areas to curb the spread of water borne diseases.

"We are appealing to the government to provide relief food to residents," said Mr Ongudi.

RENDERED HOMELESS

In Nyatike, Migori County, several families have been rendered homeless after houses were swept away by raging floods. The families are now camping in churches.

At least 15 families have been in the constituency have been affected. The number is expected to rise after the weatherman predicted more rains in the coming weeks. Some of the affected families are camping at at Ageng'a Chief's Camp. Residents have blamed Lower Kuja Irrigation Scheme for the floods.

"The irrigation scheme has come with devastating effects, nearly the entire village risks getting submerged as floods continue to sweep across the area," said Ms Wilkister Atieno one of the victims.

Ms Atieno said the raging waters swept her two roomed mud house on Friday night, almost killing her children.

"I noticed the water levels rise, my three-year-old twins almost drowned," she said.

Local leaders have called on the Migori County disaster management team to come to the rescue of the locals. They said the irrigation scheme's outlet is not able to drain the water into Lake Victoria.

HEAVY RAINS

Mr Peter Polo Orwa, a local administrator said two streams broke their banks due to heavy rains.

"Once rivers Kuja and Migori burst their banks, hell breaks loose on the lower side. We have lost many livestock. Several residents have also been displaced and we urge Migori County disaster team to come to our rescue," he said.

North Kadem Ward Representative Lucas Wagai, called for government's intervention saying that locals risk contacting waterborne diseases.

"The government should find a lasting solution to the perennial floods in this area. Locals lack essentials like mosquito nets, bedding, clothes and drugs," he noted.

The Lower Kuja Irrigation Scheme Project engineer Nesline Ogwe denied that the irrigation scheme's structure was contributing to the floods. He said floods were being experienced in most parts of the country.

"We are putting in place possible measures to find a lasting solution to the situation," said Mr Ogwe.

In Kakamega County, two girls drowned while crossing River Lusumu a week ago.

County disaster technical committee chairman Musa Chibole said: "We brought divers from Webuye who helped in retrieving the bodies, we have taken over the funeral arrangements."

BRIDGE COLLAPSED

The two sisters, Lavender and Patience Mang'eti drowned on November 23 at River Lusumu in Mumias East sub-county after a wooden bridge collapsed as they were crossing.

In Kisii County, at least four people have died after they drowned in various rivers across the county. Residents have been asked to be on high alert of possible floods.

The county disaster management department has listed five flood-prone wards. The wards include Moticho and Bomariba in South Mugirango, Boikanga in Bonchari constituency and Monyerero in Kitutu Chache South constituency.

Normal activities at Keroka market have been halted for two weeks due to floods.

"We appeal to residents in the identified areas to move to higher and safer grounds to avoid calamities," said Mr Alex Nyamweya, the county chief officer in charge of disaster management.

Mr Nyamweya said the county government had rolled out a sensitisation programme to quarry workers at Tabaka in South Mugirango.

Reporting by Ian Byron, Shaban Makokha, Benson Ayienda and Elizabeth Ojina

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