Flooding, lack of PPE expose Kisumu locals to virus

Wednesday June 03 2020
Kisumu floods

A boy uses a boat to leave home after Lake Victoria rose and flooded several houses at Nduru Kadhiambo in Kisumu County on February 27, 2020. Many parts of the country are currently experiencing floods due to heavy rains. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Even as it prides itself of having kept off the virus, Kisumu County’s transit nature, the crowding in flood evacuation centres, citizens’ non-adherence to the government directives as well as not equipping their health workers properly may become avenues for contracting and rapidly spreading Covid-19.

The county has recorded zero positive cases of Covid-19, but has had five cases from Nairobi, South Sudan and Uganda.

The first two cases, both male aged 29 and 82 years, were long-distance truck drivers who were intercepted by Public Health Surveillance teams having travelled from South Sudan and Uganda respectively through Busia border on May 23.

The third one was from Nairobi having travelled for a funeral in Nyando, while the remaining two were also from the city and were attending a funeral at Kajulu.

As at the last comprehensive status update of the virus by the governor on May 23, all the 307 tested samples in the first 68 days had turned out negative.



The samples were from suspected cases that exhibited case definitions and admitted to the county isolation centres.

Of the 307 tested, 41 are from isolation wards, 102 from quarantine centres, 36 Jaramogi hospital patients with respiratory illness, 11 inmates from Kodiaga, 27 truck drivers, 82 hoteliers and eight own request.

The county being a major transport hub of East Africa and the Lake Region is facing another major calamity — floods — which have further made a section of the population vulnerable, killing five and displacing over 35,500 people.

A visit to some of the evacuation centres revealed that the families were still crowded in classrooms, which poses a major risk should Covid-19 break out.

This was the case despite Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o claim that they were trying to lodge only five people per classroom.


The floods had come at a bad time and the numbers kept surging, yet classrooms on higher grounds were few. He said they were striving to decongest the camps. Healthcare workers keep raising serious concerns of lack of personal protection equipment (PPEs), which they fear is exposing them to the virus.
Interaction with healthcare providers and some nurses at the Jaramogi hospital revealed a different thing altogether from the county boss’ assurance of being well equipped.
A nurse who sought anonymity told Nation they have inadequate PPEs, including masks, despite being in the frontline.