• Last Friday security officers implementing the eviction notice started pulling down structures belonging to people who had encroached on the land.
• The families from Katooni, Katithini and Mboroviti areas are living in open-air camps.
The ongoing eviction on Tana and Athi River Development Authority land in Mwingi North has resulted in a humanitarian crisis, Kenya Red Cross has said.
The eviction follows the expiry of one-and-a-half-year-notice that had been issued by TARDA.
Last Friday, security officers implementing the eviction notice started pulling down structures belonging to encroachers.
Speaking on Monday after visiting the displaced families, Lower Eastern regional manager of the Red Cross Joe Mbalu said at least 850 families had been left without shelter in Mwingi North.
Mbalu said a further assessment would be done in Mwingi West even as a finer assessment was being carried to know the actual number of vulnerable families.
He said KRC will provide temporary shelter and food to the affected households.
The families from Katooni, Katithini and Mboroviti areas now live in open-air makeshift camps.
“We have quite some households that have been displaced naturally and they have nowhere to go. Our mission is to do a rapid assessment to be able to tell how many people are in need,” Mbalu said.
Mbalu was accompanied by a team from the Kitui government, led by county Education and ICT executive Stephen Maithya.
They distributed relief food to 500 families in Mboroviti and Katithini areas.
Mbalu pledged that once the assessment is finalised in all the affected areas, Red Cross will put in place measures, including the provision of temporary shelter and food, to support the families.
Mbalu said although shelter will be provided, caution will be exercised to ensure the situation does not lead to an explosion of Covid-19 infection.
“We will be in consultation with the Ministry of Health to ensure Covid-19 guidelines are adhered to and we do not create any sort of camps where the infection will increase,” he said
Maithya said Governor Charity Ngilu had responded to the plight of the evictees by sending him to distribute 1500 packets of maize flour, 1,000kg sugar, 700 tins of cooking oil and 700kg rice.
He said the displaced persons were hunger-stricken as they did not have any source of income following the eviction. Maithya, therefore, urged R hued Cross and well-wishers to support the families as consultations take place to find ways to settle them.
Edited by Kiilu Damaris