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February 20, 2019

Garissa youths want KenGen to pay fl ood victims

Garissa county assembly on Monday /STEPHEN ASTARIKO
Garissa county assembly on Monday /STEPHEN ASTARIKO
Young people in Garissa are demanding compensation from the Kenya Electricity Generating Company for loss of lives and property in the April-May floods.
Yesterday, they petitioned the county assembly. They want KenGen reprimanded and compelled to pay damages.
Hundreds of people living along Tana River were displaced and property destroyed when KenGen released excess water from its dams. It caused flooding downstream.
Residents and local leaders condemned the state agency. Garissa Governor Ali Korane promised his administration would sue KenGen to have victims paid. He has not kept his word.
Kengen had said it was not to blame because “the act of nature was beyond its control.”
It had asked residents downstream to move to safer grounds.
But the petitioners, led by activist Abdirahman Mohamed, say the firm “blatantly defied the Constitution that requires protection of every Kenyan from any form of violence”.
They want MCAs to constitute a special committee that will meet victims in the hard-hit areas and collect their views. Targeted areas include Bulla Punda, Bulla Iftin, Bulla Sheikh and Windsor.
“KenGen shall adequately compensate the flood victims for negligence. It shall also identify a sustainable approach to manage and utilise water spillage from the dams and ensure there are no floods downstream,” the petition reads.
The petitioners also want the assembly to summon the county executive to inform residents of the measures it has put in place to avert future floods.
In June, Kenya Farmers Federation vice chairperson Dubat Amey said 600 farmers incurred huge losses because of the floods. They are devastated, he said.
The county government said it couldn’t pay for the losses because of a limited budget.
Agriculture executive Issa Yarrow said in an interview that they will soon have a donor conference to raise funds for farmers.
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