25,000 at risk as Tana swells

Friday November 14 2008

Budalangi residents carry their belongings to

Budalangi residents carry their belongings to move to a safer place after they houses were flooded with water from River Nzoia which broke its banks. PHOTO/ FILE 


Panic has gripped residents of Tana Delta District after River Tana burst its banks on Thursday night, threatening more than 25,000 people.

On Friday, area district commissioner Charles Monari mobilised the provincial administration and other government officers to tell people to move to higher ground as the situation became increasingly worrisome by mid-morning.

“The river is swollen and in some areas it has started to breach the bank. We are facing eminent floods and we had to move in fast to avert any crisis,” said the DC.

Mr Monari said that the district was experiencing only light rains currently but the heavy rains falling upcountry were responsible for the imminent flooding.

All residents staying near river banks between Mnazini and Kilelengwani downstream were advised to move to higher ground immediately.

“We have about 25,000 residents living next to the river in Mancini, Ndhera, Chara and Ozi villages,” Mr Monari said.
Kilelengwani is the other village threatened by the floods, the DC said, adding that in the past, floods have displaced thousands of people in these areas.

A village was submerged in water, displacing 92 families in Tana River District after River Galole broke its banks following a heavy downpour on Tuesday.

Red Cross Tana River branch coordinator Kofa Kase said that 485 people had been displaced.

“The flash floods continued throughout Tuesday, day and night, and River Galole broke its banks and displaced 92 families in Gofifa Village, Galole Division,” said Mr Kase.

The Red Cross volunteer team moved in to assist the villagers to move out of the area to three camps at Dada Primary School, Kache and Koricha villages.

Tana River DC Musiambo Wanyama said the situation was however returning to normal after the rains subsided on Wednesday and Thursday.

“Fortunately, the village had no schools, while all candidates had been taken to Wayu Primary School,” he said, adding that the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam had not been affected.

In Western Kenya, cases of outbreaks of diarrhoea are on the rise in flood-hit areas due to contamination of water, a joint Kenya Red Cross Society-UN early assessment report has said.

No cholera cases have been reported in the camps for the displaced though, and medical teams have been dispatched to contain the incidents, the report adds.

A KRCS western region officer, Ms Pamela Indiakha, expressed fears that cases of malaria outbreaks could begin if the flooding does not subside soon.

More than 300,000 people have fled their homes in several parts of the country, with Western Kenya being worst hit.

The inter-agency report lists the magnitude of the damage caused by the floods, the number of people affected and the situation in the camps, Ms Indiakha said.

The contents of the report, done jointly with a UN emergency team dispatched to the country on Monday, will assist in relief distribution efforts.

Improve sanitation

In Siaya, DC Boaz Cheruiyot and the department of public health have dispatched officials to the camp for the displaced to assist with efforts to improve sanitation.

More than 2,000 people have been camping at Nyadorera after their homes were submerged by flood waters after River Nzoia broke its banks. The worst hit are West Ugenya and Usonga locations.

Though the water levels have started receding, residents have been warned to remain on higher ground until the provincial administration clears the way for their return.

Reports by Daniel Nyassy, Amina Kibirige and Walter Menya