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Flood victims reject ‘little’ relief food, complain of neglect

Saturday December 14 2019
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Kisumu County Commissioner Susan Waweru gives food to floods victims at Ombaka Primary School on December 8, 2019. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By IAN BYRON
By ELIZABETH OJINA

Flood victims in Nyatike, Migori County this week rejected relief food from the county government, saying, it was too little.

The over 300 victims of the ongoing floods, who are camping at Wath Onger Chiefs Camp, demanded an explanation as to why the county government had distributed only a few bundles of maize flour and yet other regions had received donations in bulk.

PROTEST

Carrying twigs and chanting slogans, the residents marched on Wath Onger-Muhuru Road, disrupting operations in the area. The disgruntled group claimed that since the disaster struck in November, they have not received any help from the devolved unit’s administration.

They handed back the county government donation to county disaster management officer Joshua Ngwala, terming it an insult.

“We demand that the disaster management team explains why they resorted to such a demeaning move. Other places affected by floods have received trucks of relief food, yet this region only benefits from a handful of donations. This is an insult to flood victims,” Mr William Onyango, a resident, said.

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Another victim, John Otieno, claimed the administration had deliberately left those affected to suffer, yet there are proper mechanisms in place to compensate the affected families.

“We are aware the disaster management team has proper mechanisms for taking care of those affected by floods. It’s an insult to be handed a few stocks of relief food when the surplus remains stocked in county stores,” Mr Otieno said.

FOOD AID

Mr Ngwala, however, told the victims to remain calm as there were plans to assist all those who are affected by the floods.

The county disaster officer noted that the scuffle had been occasioned by a section of the residents who scrambled for the relief food, citing the high demand for basics in the area.

“We had brought the donations to cater for just a few people, but seemingly there was a huge demand for food, occasioning the scramble. We have, therefore, resolved to bring more necessities to address the shortage,” Mr Ngwala said.

The incident happened a day after Governor Okoth Obado visited the region on Monday and appealed to the national government to come to the aid of the flood victims.

More than 600 households in Nyatike have been displaced by the ongoing heavy rains, with a majority of them camping in neighbouring schools and at Wath Onger Chief’s Camp.

The worst affected areas are Macalder Kanyarwanda and North Karen wards.

In Kisumu, two unidentified bodies believed to have been swept away by raging floods were recovered on the bank of River Wigwe in Nyalenda on Tuesday afternoon. Nyalenda chief John Kabisai told the Nation they are yet to identify the bodies of a man and a woman.

The bodies were taken to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral mortuary.

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