RIVER TANA FULL

300 families displaced again by floods in Garissa

They were recovering from December floods and locust invasion

In Summary

• Official asks schools to host them as camps don't allow social distancing. 

• Victims say although their main worry, for now, is food, shelter, mosquito nets, safe drinking water and toilets, coronavirus remains a major threat to their lives.

A displaced woman and her child from Ziwani outside their makeshift camp in at the Farmers training center in Garissa on Sunday.
DISPLACEMENT A displaced woman and her child from Ziwani outside their makeshift camp in at the Farmers training center in Garissa on Sunday.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Close to 300 families living on both sides of River Tana in Garissa are back to displacement camps just months after they returned to their homes.

In December last year, the families in the flood-prone areas were forced out of their dwellings after the river burst its banks following another season of heavy rains and spillage from the Masinga Dam.

The heavy rains pounding several parts of the country have caused heavy flooding downstream and with the threat of coronavirus, the affected families are now living in fear.

 
 

The most affected areas are Ziwani, Bakuyu, Bulla Sheikh, Windsor and Mororo in Tana River county. The victims are camped at ATC grounds, Kazuku Primary and Young Muslim and those from Mororo have taken shelter along the Garissa - Nairobi Highway.

The victims who spoke to the Star on Sunday said although their main worry, for now is food, shelter, mosquito nets, safe drinking water and toilets, coronavirus remains a major threat to their lives.

Arid Lands Development Focus (ALDEF) boss Ahmed Ibrahim said the situation at the displacement camps is dire.

He said the majority of the displaced families fell victims to the desert locust invasion to which they lost crops and were just recovering from the December flooding.

 “The people need to be supported with food, sanitation, hygiene promotion and awareness promotion are the key important components for now,” the CEO said.

“Our priority, for now, is proper spacing be adhered to in all the displacement camps because of the coronavirus.”

Bura MP Ali Wario on Saturday called on school managements to allow flood victims to take refuge in their institutions to allow for social distancing noting that the displacement camps could turn into fertile grounds for the virus to spread.

 
 

Wario said because the schools are closed due to the Covid-19, schools should open their doors for the victims despite complaints that they may damage the institutions’ infrastructure.

The Bura legislator said the effects of the coronavirus far outweigh damages on schools.

“We cannot compare what would happen if the virus starts spreading among the flood victims because the camps cannot allow social distancing. We have to balance between combating Covid-19 and renovating the damaged school’s infrastructure,” he added.

Edited by R.Wamochie