Displaced families beg for help as Lake Naivasha rises, pollution threatens health

Rift Valley lakes have been rising for six months, displacing thousands of people, flooding schools, churches, markets, hospitals

In Summary

• Tens of flower farms and hotels also flooded, hundreds of homes swamped, thousands displaced. Residents plead for compensation.

• Fears of a disease outbreaks in the flooded estates where latrines overflowed, mingling with floodwaters. 

A boat operator next to a flooded greenhouse near Lake Naivasha.
NATURE'S WRATH: A boat operator next to a flooded greenhouse near Lake Naivasha.

Water levels in overflowing Lake Naivasha are still rising sharply and more families are expected to be forced out of their homes in coming days.

Affected families, mainly flower farm workers on Kihoto estate, have appealed to the government to come to their rescue. They said they are still suffering the effects of Covid-19.

Landlords, flower farm workers, small-scale traders and schoolchildren are the worst affected, community leaders said.

Speaking during a meeting in Naivasha on Wednesday, leader Ambrose Ngari praised the government for forming a taskforce to address the phenomenon of lakes rising throughout Rift Valley.

He said affected and displaced families had yet to get support, including help for schoolchildren.

“We know that this is a listening government and it will address the issue of compensation for tens of the affected families around the lake,” he said.

During the meeting, Ngari said that three aspirants for the Lakeview ward seat had decided to step aside in support of the Jubilee candidate. He is also a Kisii elder.

“After a meeting we agreed that we shall support the Jubilee candidate," Ngara said. 

He criticised those who were engaging in early campaigning, saying they were creating unnecessary tension.

“This is the time to first deliver help to the electorate and when the time is ripe then people can start all manner of campaigns," he said.

Elder David Ombiro described the agony families displaced around Lake Naivasha.

Ombiro noted more and more people were suffering as water levels have been rising and the lake overflowing for six months.

“We have never seen anything like this and due to flooding many families affected by Covid-19 are being forced to move," he said.

Ombiro praised the government but said if ongoing campaigns were allowed to continue, they could derail development projects countrywide.

Woman leader Risper Kimunto said said they fully supported the government and were optimistic those affected by flooding would be compensated.

(Edited by V. Graham)