Sunday, March 21, 2010

Trying to rebuild Kenyan communities after floods

Mary Kiio in IPS: After torrential rains and floods claimed lives in Kenya’s North Rift region, hundreds of displaced people are now in dire need of relief aid. In Turkana, one of the worst affected areas, hundreds of homes have been washed away by floods or buried under landslides. Access to clean water and sanitation have become a major issue in the area, where the displaced have to relieve themselves in bushes.

"My house was suddenly filled with water. My toilet was carried away, and also the vegetables, which I had planted on my farm," lamented Godfrey Chume, one of the displaced residents in the Turkana area. The father of two said he gathered up his family members and quickly ran up a hill to be swept away by the torrents. "My boys came down with a fever. For now, my family is staying with neighbours, as I work towards rebuilding what was destroyed," Chuma told IPS.

Strong flood waters caused the Kerio river to burst its banks in the area in early March, destroying irrigation schemes, roads as well as fields, especially sorghum and maize crops, which is likely to result in food shortages for many months to come.

Chume says his and other families, who live in a settlement called California, in the Turkana district, say they have not been reached by any of the relief aid distributed by government and non-governmental organisations. They have been struggling to put enough food on the table and have used their little savings to buy from a nearby town. But in the long-run, they will end up in a difficult situation, Chume believes, because their livelihoods depend on the yields from their farmlands.

…Other agencies have particularly focused on limiting the cholera outbreak caused by lack of sanitation. "We have helped over 600 people affected by the cholera outbreak, through (education) and water treatment tablets," says Emanuel Mkoba, integrated programme area manager at international aid organisation WorldVision. Throughout Kenya, the Red Cross estimates that more than 10,000 people have been affected by the floods, claiming the lives of 19 people. Hundreds of cattle, goats, sheep and donkeys – livestock indispensible for rural livelihoods – have been lost…..

Lake Turkana from the air, shot by Hansueli Krapf, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

1 comment:

Parag said...

It is a concerning situation in Turkana. First of all, the government must try to provide food and clean water and then re-establish them by whatever aid they receive.
Lake turkana kenya