Mandera, Kenya – Over 20,000 households in Mandera County have been displaced due to persistent heavy rainfall lasting more than 36 hours. The unprecedented downpour has led to severe flooding across multiple areas, submerging houses and disrupting daily life.
According to Kenya News Agency, the floods have affected several regions including Mandera East, Mandera West, Mandera North, Mandera South, Kiliwaheri, Arabia, and Lafey sub-counties. Key affected areas include Khalalio, Neboi, Township, Libihiya, Rhamu, Elwak North, Elwak South, Shimbir Fatuma, Alungu Lafey, and Fino. Mohamed Yussuf, the MCA in Khalalio, Mandera East, has urgently requested humanitarian assistance from agencies like the Kenya Red Cross to prevent the situation from worsening.
The floods have rendered roads impassable, halted business operations, and engulfed residential neighborhoods. Darika Village in Khalalio, Mandera East, is notably the hardest hit, with significant loss of homes and livestock. Residents have been forced to relocate to higher ground as floodwaters continue to maroon their village. Similarly, Elwak in Mandera South faces urgent needs as many buildings are isolated by floodwaters.
The flooding has particularly affected students undergoing KCSE exams. The disaster has submerged 47 schools, including 37 primary and 10 secondary schools, and led to the collapse of 69 toilets and 48 classrooms. This has impacted 1,321 students, including 830 boys and 491 girls, who are currently sitting for exams. Mandera County Commissioner, Amos Mariba, has emphasized the government’s commitment to ensuring that affected students can complete their exams.
The Disaster Response Committee, chaired by Mariba, reported that the floods have claimed seven lives, three in Elwak town and four in Mandera East. Mustafa Adan from the Kenya Red Cross in Mandera County has confirmed readiness to distribute aid to all affected residents. The extent of livestock loss is still uncertain, adding to the crisis.
The floods have also severely impacted local agriculture. Approximately 9,405 farmers cultivating 10,336 hectares of irrigated farmland have been cut off due to poor road conditions. River floods have damaged 2,357 hectares of land, causing substantial crop losses. Farmers in Koromey, Banyole, and Chachane have reported significant damages as their farms were completely submerged.
Furthermore, 3,657 dryland farmers from agro-pastoral and pastoral livelihood zones have been affected. The Kenya Meteorological Department forecasts heavy rains, exceeding 120mm, to continue until the end of January 2024, causing heightened concern among the already distressed villagers.