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December 19, 2018

Families displaced as river bursts banks in Kisumu after downpour

Flood victims in Kisumu county/MAURICE ALAL
Flood victims in Kisumu county/MAURICE ALAL

More than 1,500 families in Kisumu county have been displaced by flash floods after River Nyando burst its banks following a downpour.

The county government said residents of Nyando, Nyakach, Muhoroni and Kisumu East subcounties are worst hit.

Some homes have been submerged, leaving families homeless. In Nyando, more than 346 homesteads were affected. Families have been evacuated.

Kisumu county police commander John Kamau told the Star on the phone yesterday they are assessing the situation before planning assistance for the people.

In Muhoroni, 947 families have been affected. Some sought refuge at the evacuation centres while others are marooned by flood waters in villages.

The villages include Kibigori, Ogwodo, Kogalo, Obiayo, Achuodho, Nyakoko, Milenye and Oduwo.

Muhoroni deputy county commissioner Kipkech Lotiatia said other affected areas are Miwani, Masogo-Nyang’oma and Ombeyi. Crops were washed away, he said.

Lotiatia said in some areas water is subsiding and families have started returning to their homes. Displaced people have been given foodstuff, blankets and medication. 

Muhoroni MP Onyango Koyoo has appealed to the Ministry of Health and the county government to be on the lookout for possible disease outbreaks. He appealed to the Kenya Red Cross Society, the national and county governments to distribute non-food relief items including mosquito nets, soap, water purifiers and blankets.

Koyoo said pit latrines have been flooded, posing a major health risk. Flood victims fear contracting waterborne diseases.

Kisumu directorate of special programmes boss Ruth Odinga said the county has mapped out flood-prone areas and set up humanitarian centres to mitigate the effects of floods.

The county has more than 25 evacuation centres in seven subcounties where affected residents can take shelter. Odinga commended various agencies including Unicef for their coordinated response and contributions to the displaced people. According to the county government, the last time Kisumu witnessed such flooding was in 1980s.

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