Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Floods breed disease fears for families

Pupils navigate a swamp on reed-rafts to get to school at Katuit primary in Chesesoi village on the shores of the Kenyan rift valley's Lake Baringo. More than 3,000 people living next to Lake Baringo have appealed to the government  to relocate them as raging floods continue destroying homes. PHOTO/FILE

Pupils navigate a swamp on reed-rafts to get to school at Katuit primary in Chesesoi village on the shores of the Kenyan rift valley's Lake Baringo. More than 3,000 people living next to Lake Baringo have appealed to the government to relocate them as raging floods continue destroying homes. PHOTO/FILE 

By BARNABAS BII
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Hundreds of families displaced by floods in parts of North Rift live in fear of possible outbreak of waterborne diseases as the County government and humanitarian agencies struggle to relocate them to dry areas.

The families in flood and mudslide-prone Baringo, Turkana, West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet counties on Tuesday said they were unable to access medical services due to impassable roads caused by recent heavy rains.

“There is urgent need to evacuate the families to safer areas to avoid outbreak of contagious diseases such as diarrhoea,” said Ekum Akoru, a resident of Katilu Turkana County that has been partly hit by floods.

Mitigate impact

Kenya Red Cross disaster management officer in Rift Valley Kennedy Mulama said they were working with county governments to mitigate impact of the floods.

“Medical camps have been set up to support county governments in flood-prone areas to overcome challenges caused by natural calamities,” said Mr Mulama.

He disclosed that African Oil Company had donated Sh20 million to support intervention measures in Turkana County.

“More support is required for displaced families especially children and the elderly in terms of food and non-food items,” said Mr Mulama.

He disclosed that disaster management teams have been dispatched to help avert any catastrophes following the on-set of heavy rains.

In Kibish sub-county, residents expressed worry over outbreak of contagious diseases due to acute water shortage that has hit the town that sits on the Kenya-Ethiopia border.

The shortage has been attributed to breakdown of a pump that supplies water to more than 5,000 residents in Kibish town and its environs.

Health facilities and hotels have been hard hit by the water shortage forcing some of them to close down business.

The residents appealed to the government to send engineers to repair the water pump and restore normal supply before the situation gets out of hand.

Kibish Sub County Commissioner Eric Wanyonyi said lack of spare parts was delaying the repairs and resumption of water supply in the area.

“The spares are found in Kitale town, some 1,000 kilometres away. Engineers are working round the clock to repair the damaged pump,” said Mr Wanyonyi.

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