Kenya: Declare Floods National Disaster, Leaders Say

Garissa residents wade through floods after the River Tana burst its banks following days of torrential rain.

Political leaders from the Nyanza and Western regions are pressuring the government to declare the ongoing floods a national disaster.

Reports indicate that more than 100,000 people have been displaced across the regions as of yesterday.

MPs Raphael Wanjala (Budalang'i), Mark Nyamita (Uriri), Samuel Atandi (Alego Usonga), Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja) and a host of ward reps have said the situation is worsening with each passing day and needs urgent attention, including special funds to help displaced people.

There are also fears about a looming food shortage after farmlands were destroyed by floods, which have ravaged the region for more than two months now.

Some of the camps where the displaced are seeking refuge have also been flooded, forcing the victims to move to new camps.

Mr Nyamita said the government needs to set aside money to help the thousands of displaced families that are going without food and other basic needs in camps.

"Kenyans are suffering. The government, through the ministry of special programmes, should act fast and salvage the situation," he said.

In Migori, residents of Oria, Kamenya and parts of lower Kanyamkago have been displaced after the River Kuja broke its banks. In Nyatike, at least six villages -- Nyora, Angugo, Kabuto, Were, Lwanda Konyango and Muhuru -- have been marooned by floods. Thousands of livestock have also been swept away. Over the weekend, victims braved the cold as floods marooned Nyora Primary School, where they had been camping.

Kakelo Kakoth location Chief Sospeter Odege, who is among the displaced, told the Nation: "We were forced to flee our homes to safer ground in schools, which are also getting submerged".

By Friday last week, the Muhuru, Mugabo, Senye, Kao, Kibro and Lwanda Konyango beaches were still marooned by floods, with beach management officials saying most of their fishing gear, stores and fish-cooling plants had been destroyed.

In Busia, where more than 40,000 people are feared displaced, Mr Wanjala urged the government to declare the floods a national disaster. "I call upon the Ministry of Lands to speed up land compensation to facilitate completion of dykes whose construction stalled two years ago," he said.

In Kakamega, County Commissioner Pauline Sola said 900 families had been displaced as of May 5, dismissing Governor Wycliffe Oparanya's figure of 2,000.

In Siaya, where an estimated 10,000 people are displaced, Alego-Usonga MP Samuel Atandi has asked the county government to allocate funds in its budget for rebuilding affected homes. He also appealed to the government to send medical personnel to the affected areas.

In Homa Bay, ward representatives from flood-prone areas have urged the government to help locals, saying flood victims had been sidelined.

They said at least 1,000 families from different wards were living in camps. They also accused the county government of focusing more on the fight against Covid-19.

Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o said yesterday an estimated 32,000 people had been displaced by floods, and called on well-wishers to donate food and other items to those affected.

Father Samuel Nyattaya of the Kisumu Archdiocese urged the government to work out a lasting solution for residents of Nyando who are perennially hit by floods.

In the Rift Valley, 10 people have drowned in the past two weeks and more than 200 families displaced as a result of floods that have hit Bomet County.

In neighbouring Kericho County, more than 100 families have been affected, with Kipkelion West the worst-hit.

Several people have died in the past one week in Turkana County after several rivers burst their banks.

Farmers in the county are also counting losses after their produce, which was ready to be harvested, was destroyed by the floods.

In Baringo, more than 4,000 locals in 10 villages bordering Lake Baringo have been displaced after the lake burst its banks over the weekend. Schools, government offices and a church are among those flooded.

At the same time, two bodies have been retrieved from rivers as heavy rains continue in Kirinyaga County. The bodies were spotted by villagers who were fetching water from the rivers.

Reports by Ian Byron, Dickens Wasonga, Shaban Makokha, George Odiwuor, Rushdie Oudia, Elizabeth Ojina, Vitalis Kimutai, Sammy Lutta, Florah Koech and George Munene.

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