Hundreds in Isiolo displaced after River Ewaso Ng’iro bursts

Monday October 23 2017

Flooded Merti, Isiolo County

Some residents of Merti in Isiolo County leave following heavy floods that have affected the area. The floods have been caused by the bursting of River Ewaso Ng’iro after heavy rains mostly in the Aberdares where it originates. PHOTO | VIVIAN JEBET | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By VIVIAN JEBET
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Hundreds of residents of Merti Sub-County in Isiolo have been displaced after Ewaso Ng’iro River burst its banks following heavy rains.

The floods which started Saturday have affected animals and tourist camp sites with leaders raising fears that the situation could worsen if it continues to rain upstream.

Governor Mohammed Kuti, Senator Fatuma Dullo, Woman Representative Rehema Jaldesa, Speaker Hussein Halakhe, MPs Hassan Oda (Isiolo North) and, and Abdi Koropu (Isiolo South) together with MCAs, held a meeting Monday to help avert the crisis that has affected both Merti and Garbatulla sub-counties.

ASSES SITUATION

The Senator who asked locals living along the river to vacate to higher grounds said a committee of 100 people including MCAs, the Kenya Red Cross representatives; county government officials and chiefs will be dispatched to ascertain the number of affected families for response.

Ms Rehema claimed that at least 1,500 people from Merti Sub-County have been displaced by the floods and have vacated the submerged area.

During the meeting, the Isiolo North MP claimed that four schools including Machi Girls and Machi Boys secondary schools and Merti Primary School have also been hit by floods forcing learners to stay away.

Mr Oda also maintained that 400 animals in the affected areas of Merti have been marooned and expressed fears that they might die.

The leaders who appealed for intervention from the national disaster response team and other humanitarian organisations said Garfasa, Merti, Godruba and Malkadaka have been severely hit by the floods.

“A team has been dispatched to the affected areas to carry out an investigation on the level of destruction and households affected so that we can intervene,” said the senator.

Obru Primary School in Isiolo

Obru Primary School in Isiolo which has been affected by floods. PHOTO | VIVIAN JEBET | NATION MEDIA GROUP

AID

Already, the leaders have assembled equipment for evacuating families that need to leave the affected areas. Other items include medicine to mitigate possible disease outbreaks and food aid.

The region is currently experiencing drought but has been hit by the floods from run offs from counties that are upstream especially in the Aberdares where the river originates.

Ms Dullo said that similar cases of flooding have been reported over the years and that there is need to come up with a proper plan to tap flood water for long term usage.

Flooded campsite in Isiolo

A campsite in Isiolo which has been made inaccessible by heavy floods. PHOTO | VIVIAN JEBET | NATION MEDIA GROUP

TOURISM AFFECTED

She regretted that tourism will be affected since lodges including Ashnil and others along the river have been affected by the floods.

The leaders further raised fears that more people will be displaced and the situation could worsen if it continues to rain on the upper side of the river.

They urged locals living along the river to move to higher grounds.

Locals, especially those in Merti Town who have moved out of their houses are being hosted by their relatives as they await the floods to subside.