Families in Garissa displaced as River Tana bursts banks

Monday April 16 2018

floods

Residents of Hafeji in the Tana Delta sail past a house destroyed by floods after River Tana burst its banks. Hundreds of families living along River Tana in Garissa County have been displaced by floods. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ABDIMALIK HAJIR
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Hundreds of families living along River Tana in Garissa County are staring at a humanitarian crises after the river burst its banks due to heavy rains.

Families in Mororo, Bakuyu and Ziwani have been forced to seek shelter on higher ground in Garissa town after their houses were submerged and valuables washed away.

A number of people are marooned on farms with little food.

Abdallah Umuro, a resident of Mororo, said hundreds of people are spending the night in the cold and have not received help from the government or humanitarian agencies.

COLLAPSED

"Our houses have collapsed and all valuables have been washed away. We have now erected temporary shelters as we wait for assistance," he said.

Mr Umuro said their biggest worry is outbreak of water borne diseases because there are no latrines and children have now started showing signs of diarrhoea.

The displaced residents have built their shelters near Garissa bridge with children playing dangerously near the river oblivious of the risk.

"We are also fearing an outbreak of malaria since most of residents don't have mosquito nets. We are appealing to the government and humanitarian agencies to come to our aid," said Halima Ilesa, who is the chairperson of Sala ward.

RELIEF

Ms Ilesa said the residents have been told to go to Madogo Primary School but they are reluctant because they will be evicted as soon as schools re-open.

According to Kenya Red Cross county coordinator Tusmo Ogle, residents of Mansabubu in Fafi constituency are marooned and efforts are underway to rescue them.

She said the only boat that was being used to evacuate victims has broken down and is under repair.

Garissa county commissioner Joshua Chepchieng on Thursday told residents living along River Tana to move to higher ground as water levels had risen, posing danger.

Mr Chepchieng said the most affected areas include Mansabubu in Fafi sub-county, Gurufa in Lagdera sub-county, and parts of Balambala and Dadaab sub-counties.

He said roads to Bura, Masalani, Balambala, Modogashe are impassable and getting relief food to these areas is a challenge.