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Mandera farmers count losses after River Dawa breaks banks, ask for help

Friday June 15 2018
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Farmers next to a flooded farm in Mandera. Most farmers along River Dawa counting loses after their farms were submerged by the swollen river due to heavy rains in Ethiopia. PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NMG

By MANASE OTSIALO

Farmers in Mandera are counting losses for the third time this year after their lands were submerged when River Dawa burst its banks.

In Mandera East Sub-County, Mr Ali Hassan Hamo, who grows onions, water melons and maize says his losses amount to more than Sh3 million.

“We have had floods since March. Unfortunately, the county and national governments have not come to our aid,” he said.

“The river originates from the Ethiopian highlands which are experiencing heavy rains,” Mr Hamo said.

When water began flowing into his 26-acre farm in Neboi location, Mr Hamo hurriedly transferred the seedlings in his nurseries to higher ground.

“I moved the seedlings but the water levels still went up. Now I have lost everything,” he said.

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The area under onions in his farm is submerged and more water is still flowing in.

“We will still suffer as long as the Ethiopian highlands continue receiving rain. I believe the government has the means to control the flood waters,” he said.

The area residents have urged the national and Mandera devolved governments to build gabions on the river.

“Reservoirs and gabions will give us ample time to work on our lands,” he said.

Also lost to floods are water pumps used for irrigation.

FIND SOLUTION TO FLOOD MENACE

“One generator in Somalia goes for Sh150,000. This is cheaper than the same generators in Nairobi. They have all been washed away,” Mr Hamo said.

At Kodha farm in Figo area, 15 acres of land under bananas is flooded.

“We shall not harvest anything this season. Suckers are rotting. This means we will begin the project afresh,” Mr Hassan Ibrahim Robow said.

He added that farmers and their families were at risk of being attacked by crocodiles.

Kenya Wildlife Service officers have laid crocodile traps at Border Point One.

Mr Mohamed Abdi asked the government to fulfil its promise and find a solution to the flood menace.

“When Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa visited Mandera in April, he said the government would look into our problems. We are still waiting,” Mr Abdi said.

Ms Habiba Hassan said many children would abandon school because of the destruction caused by floods.

“I rely on the farm for school fees. All my crops have been washed away. I expected to get at least Sh700,000,” she said.

The floods destroyed her 10-acre farm where she grows sesame, onions and water melons.

The county government says it will launch a water catchment project on the river in a year.

According to Governor Ali Roba, the project will supply water to Mandera and the surrounding towns.

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