Residents walk in the rain at the Solai farm after their dam burst its walls, overrunning nearby homes, in Solai town near Nakuru, Kenya, 10 May 2018. Photo: Thomas Mukoya / REUTERS

By Nita Bhalla; editing by Claire Cozens
4 July 2018

NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) — After a severe drought last year, East Africa was hit by two months of heavy rains, disrupting the lives of millions of people in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Uganda.

Tens of thousands of survivors of Kenya's worst floods in recent years are living on the brink with barely enough food to eat two months after the disaster, aid workers warned on Wednesday, calling on authorities to provide increased funding and support.

Incessant heavy rainfall in March and April caused dams and rivers in parts of the East African nation to overflow, submerging crops and washing away homes. At least 186 people died and more than 300,000 others were forced to flee.

While water levels have receded and many people have returned home, aid workers in the worst affected coastal region of Tana River county said most of those displaced were still living in camps with little means of survival.

"The majority of the 150,000 people displaced in Tana River are still in the camps as they have not received any information from authorities on whether it is safe to return or not," said Matthew Cousins, humanitarian director for Oxfam Kenya.

"They also have nothing to go back to. Their homes and crops have been destroyed and they have not been given any help to rebuild their lives."

After a severe drought last year, East Africa was hit by two months of heavy rains, disrupting the lives of millions of people in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Uganda.

Kenya experiences two rainy seasons - from March to May and then from October to November - but seasonal rainfall recorded this year has been the highest in 50 years, according to the country's meteorological department. [more]

Kenya: Tens of Thousands Go Hungry After Floods - Aid Agencies

Map of the flood situation in the Horn of Africa, 16 May 2018. Graphic: European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

6 July 2018 (IOM) – As a result of the heavy rains that poured across Kenya between April – May 2018, the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) reported about 311,000 people have been displaced by floods and number of deaths estimated at 186. At least 32 counties have been affected by the floods. Tana River, Turkana, Mandera, and Kilifi counties have high numbers of displaced persons, with Tana River having the largest number of displaced persons at 97,215 people. There is widespread damage to infrastructure and livelihoods due to the heavy rains and widespread flooding.

The residents of Kilifi County living along River Galana/Sabaki were not exempt from the havoc induced by floods in April 2018. IOM responded then with 300 NFI kits in Kakuyuni and Garashi locations in coordination with the county level representatives of the National Government, County Government Disaster Unit and the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCs). On 5 July 2018, with funding from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), IOM distributed 150 NFI kits to 150 households from Chakama (27), Shakahola (30), Kalongoni (43) and Kisisi (50) villages within Malindi sub-county. The age range of beneficiaries receiving NFI kits was 18-65 years old, with 46% female and 54% men.

According to an assessment by KRCs conducted before the distribution, majority of the internally displaced people (IDPs) were living in makeshift structures constructed in extended families’ land which had not been affected by the floods. These IDPs lost everything they had, ranging from household items, bedding, livestock as well as food and crops. Some IDPs from floods in April 2018 in Kalongoni and Kisiki villages, had not yet received NFI support except for some food items.

After the distribution, some beneficiaries shared their views. The beneficiaries cited that the flood-related challenges extended beyond displacement, to include people who had lost food and crops in their farms located close to rivers. Across the four sites, the affected communities also expressed concerns about food shortages due to the loss of farm crops and livestock. They also cited lack of proper shelter and increased water-borne disease challenges. Most of the women beneficiaries indicated that all the items received were very useful since they had none of them before the assistance, and highlighted the tarpaulin, blankets and utensils as top on their priority list.

Kadzo Ngoa, one of the women beneficiaries, said this - “We are thankful for your support. Indeed this is useful and it is going to improve our living conditions. However, we also need food … some of us lost all our crops and livestock. We were left with nothing.”

The Assistant Chief for Chakama, Mr. Macdonald Mwaringa Ngoa, who witnessed the distribution at the Chakama Centre, expressed his gratitude to the donors and IOM for the much-needed support.

Post-distribution monitoring will be conducted to improve future emergency assistance. The monitoring will ensure response is aligned to the needs of beneficiaries and sensitive to potential protection risks that could be caused by NFI distributions, etc. IOM’s ongoing UN CERF project with partners, World Vision, UNICEF, Samaritan Purse and Kenya Red Cross Society will distribute more NFI kits to 13,800 households in Tana River, Mandera, Baringo, and Isiolo Counties targeting 69,000 individuals in the next four months.

IOM Kenya Newsflash No. 95: IOM distributes NFI kits to flood affected populations in Kilifi county (July 2018)



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