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Floods kill 11 people in Turkana

Saturday May 16 2020
WOMAN

Turkana Central National Government Constituency Development Fund Chairperson Ruth Kuya donates food to an elderly woman whose house was destroyed by floods in Nakwamekwi village on May 16, 2020. PHOTO | SAMMY LUTTA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By SAMMY LUTTA

A total of 11 people have drowned across Turkana County as a result of floods since April 29.

Turkana County Commissioner Muthama Wambua on Saturday said that at least 400 families were displaced while several goats and sheep were swept away by the floods.

Mr Wambua said four people drowned after two vehicles were swept away by rivers Kawalase and Lomunyenakirienok broke their banks.   

BOAT CAPSIZED

He said a similar number of people died after their boat capsized in River Kerio near Lake Turkana, while a woman drowned as she crossed River Lokichar.

The administrator said that the number of affected families could rise should Turkwel Gorge Dam get filled by flooded River Turkwel due to increased rainfall.

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Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter recently disclosed that the dam had hit a higher mark of 1139 due to heavy rains.

Mr Wambua asked residents living downstream and along the River Turkwel to move to safer grounds to evade possible flash floods.

“Residents living near River Turkwel should move to higher grounds because we anticipate massive destruction in case the dam gets filled up at night," the administrator said.

RELIEF FOOD

He said the national government had kicked off relief food distribution to flood victims. Turkana received 1,000 bags of rice. 

“In addition to the 1,000 bags of rice, each of the seven sub counties will receive 500 bags of rice, 50 cartons of cooking oil and vitamin boosted food for children to prevent malnutrition,” Mr Wambua said.

The residents will also receive reusable facemasks to help in the fight against Covid-19.

Turkana West MP Daniel Epuyo said that many people were affected by floods.  

“Besides floods, the national and county governments should step up relief food distribution for county residents affected by Covid-19 containment directives,” Mr Epuyo said.

HOUSES DESTROYED

Turkana Central National Government Constituency Development Fund Chairperson Ruth Kuya noted that besides relief food distribution, flood victims should be resettled by the national government.

While leading relief food distribution programme to residents whose houses were destroyed by flooded River Kawalase, Ms Kuya said many of the elderly people had heeded to Ministry of Health directive to stay at home because they are vulnerable to Covid-19.

“After giving them food, where will they stay now if we don't build for them new homes? Some are forced to seek shelter at neighbour’s houses that were not badly affected by the floods but this is contravening social distancing directive," she explained.

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