Teso North, Kenya – In a troubling development following recent storm and floods, some residents of Teso North are reportedly trading relief items for cash or alcohol.
According to Kenya News Agency, Ben Kipkorir Birechi, an investigation is underway to audit families who may have exchanged iron sheets intended for rebuilding their homes for ‘chang’aa,’ a local alcoholic brew. The iron sheets, part of relief materials distributed by the national and county governments, were handed over to over 200 families at the Angurai Vocational Training Institute.
The exchange rate of these vital construction materials is strikingly disproportionate, with iron sheets valued at Ksh. 1,450 being sold for as little as Ksh. 500. This issue was raised during a relief distribution event where Busia Governor Dr. Paul Nyongesa Otuoma provided assistance to families impacted by the recent extreme weather events that left over 70 families homeless.
The incident comes just a week after a call for the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to look into allegations of corruption in the distribution process, where it was claimed that some beneficiaries were not genuine victims.
Governor Otuoma, in his remarks, emphasized the dire situation in Busia County due to continuous rainfalls, urging the national government to allocate disaster funds to help alleviate the impact of widespread flooding. He highlighted that areas like Budalang’i, Asokoro, Amoni, and Akiriamasi are particularly affected, with hundreds displaced.
Governor Otuoma has also called attention to the broader issue of global warming, urging President Dr. Ruto to advocate for compensation for countries like Kenya that contribute minimally to climate change but suffer its severe consequences.
This plea is backed by earlier findings from the World Weather Attribution, which noted that the role of climate change in devastating floods across Africa could not be ‘confidently evaluated’ due to limited data.
Local residents, including Vincent Aunya Ekisa and Penina Nekesa, expressed gratitude for the government’s assistance while condemning the actions of those who misuse the aid. They emphasized the importance of the relief for those genuinely affected by the disasters.
Busia County, which has a history of flood-related challenges, continues to struggle with the consequences of the ongoing rains, resulting in the loss of three lives and the displacement of hundreds.