Monday, May 6, 2013

Floods cut off displaced families

By NATION TEAM [email protected]

The government is unable to reach more than 87 families, whose homes have been marooned by floods in Ugenya District, Siaya County.

Families displaced by the raging floods on Saturday night have been marooned once again by water at Mahawa Centre where they camped.

Ugenya district commissioner Caroline Onchoka said they were looking for boats to help them access the centre located at the foot of Nyambare Hills to enable food and other supplies to reach the families.

“I have called for a district disaster committee meeting to brainstorm on how we can go about it and we hope to get a way forward by the end of the day,” Ms Onchoka said.

The families were relocated from their homes after River Nzoia and Mahawa Dam burst their banks on Saturday night, forcing them to move to the centre that was identified by the DC’s office as one of the evacuation centres.

Where to go next

Another group of 40 families have been camping at nearby Lung’a Primary School for the last one month and are now uncertain about where to go next as schools reopen.

Mrs Onchoka said they were looking for other centres to move the displaced as learning begins.

The floods have mainly affected Usonga, West Alego, West Ugenya and East Ugenya locations.

Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga recently pledged to find an investor to find a lasting solution to the floods and turn the affected areas into productive lands.

In West Pokot, more than 5,000 families displaced by floods cannot access relief food and health services as heavy rains pounding the North Rift have rendered the roads impassable.

West Pokot County Commissioner Peter Okwanyo said the five people were swept by floods in Sigor Division while hundreds of animals drowned and acres of food crops submerged by water.

“Most of the seasonal rivers have burst their banks following heavy downpour posing threat to human lives and vegetation,” Mr Okwanyo said. More than 5,000 people, he added, had been rendered homeless by mudslides in Pokot North district.

“Mudslides have hit Sandai area six times in the past few weeks, forcing the families to relocate to safer grounds,” Mr Okwanyo said.

At the same time, more than 400 acres of crop at Konyao Division in Pokot North have been destroyed by floods, posing a serious threat to food security in the area.

“The anticipated 8,000 bags of maize at Konyao Division might not be realised since the crop has been submerged by water,” Pokot North district agriculture officer Philip Ting’a said.

In Mombasa, hundreds of patients were stranded yesterday after several health centres were marooned by floods.

Medical services were suspended in various public health centres while several private hospitals did not receive patients.

Heavy rains that pounded the area overnight and the whole day yesterday caused massive floods in the area.

Reported by Godfrey Ombogo, Barnabas Bii and Daniel Nyassy

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