NAIROBI: The Kenyan government has announced comprehensive measures to combat the ongoing flood crisis affecting more than 19 counties across the country. Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, speaking from Harambee House Annex, assured the nation of the government’s proactive steps to minimize the damage caused by the excessive rainfall which has led to the displacement of families, especially in Northern Kenya and downstream areas like Tana River.
According to Kenya News Agency, the recent heavy rains have surpassed normal levels, leading to rivers bursting their banks and cutting off road access in counties including Wajir, Isiolo, Mandera, Marsabit, Tana River, and Garissa. These conditions have restricted access to various parts of the country and heightened the risk to lives and livelihoods.
The Deputy President highlighted that the government, in collaboration with the National Emergency Response Committee and other partners, is actively working to mitigate the adverse effects of the floods. Key initiatives include documenting the missing persons, lost livestock, and crop destruction. This data will be made public once confirmed to ensure transparency and effective response measures.
Gachagua also outlined various government-led interventions, including the deployment of aircraft for evacuation, delivery of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examinations to disconnected areas, and the provision of clean water and sanitation in rescue centers. The government is closely monitoring rain patterns to anticipate and prevent further catastrophic outcomes.
The response includes food and non-food item distribution to affected families, with the involvement of development partners, counties, and agencies. Health and Agriculture Ministries are monitoring for potential outbreaks of animal diseases, and mobile health facilities are deployed in infrastructure-impacted areas.
With predictions of prolonged rains into the first quarter of 2024, the government is emphasizing safety messaging and evacuation for communities in lowlands and landslide-prone areas. Emergency distress call numbers are being circulated to ensure timely assistance during emergencies.
The Deputy President called for enhanced support from development partners and the private sector to bolster government efforts. He urged counties to reallocate resources for emergency response and encouraged humanitarian organizations, partners, and communities to continue collaborative efforts in mitigating the humanitarian situation.
The coordinated approach aims to prevent duplication in response efforts, ensuring comprehensive and effective action to address this national crisis. The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) is operating a control center, and the Ministry of Roads and Transport is engaged in emergency road repairs and improving drainage systems to facilitate access and safety.