Kenya: Kisumu Leaders Trade Blame as Rains, Surging Lake Levels Displace Hundreds

7 December 2019

Kisumu — Lawmakers in flood-prone areas in Kisumu came under fierce criticism on Saturday for failing to support mitigation measures to address displacement of persons due to flood emergencies.

Ruth Odinga, Special Programs Senior Advisor to Governor Anyang Nyong'o, accused Aduma Owuor (Nyakach), Jared Okello (Nyando), Mathews Onyango (Muhoroni) and Shakeel Shabbir (Kisumu East) of letting down their constituents, leaving the county government to shoulder the responsibility for raging floods that have displaced over 200 households so far.

"Where are our elected leaders, especially MPs? This issue should not be left to the county government alone, the legislators must bring their input in addressing this situation," she remarked.

Odinga said no MP has come out to help the county government with coordination regarding supply of relief food and other essentials.

Odinga said the MPs have a responsibility to lobby the national government through parliament to help in dredging of rivers in the area whose raising water levels have resulted in the displacement of persons in some parts of the county.

"We have River Nyando, a major contributor to floods in Nyando area, when was it last dredged? The MPs should source for funds from the national government to do such works," she said.

Odinga noted that the county government has been on the receiving end since flood water displaced thousands from their homes despite what she insisted was a prompt response.

Odinga announced early in the week that a multi-agency team comprising the county and national governments, UNICEF, PLAN International and Red Cross were coordinating assistance to the flood victims.

Flood victims had pitched camp in 18 designated evacuation centers as more households lost their homes to floods.

Close to 1,000 families are reported to be affected in the county with three people having lost lives.

In a statement released to the press on Saturday, the Office of the Governor said more families were affected Friday night and have so far moved to the evacuation centers.

In view of the advisories from the Metrological Department that heavy rains are still expected, the county government cautioned locals living around areas prone to flash flood to move to higher grounds.

Governor Nyong'o called upon the public who are willing to join the multi-agency team to assist where necessary.

He announced that on Monday county officials will meet a group from Kano community who have mobilized funds to offer humanitarian support to the affected families.

On Tuesday, some 220 households in Kisumu County were displaced as a result of rising water levels in Lake Victoria.

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