DISASTER

Tana flood victims ready to be resettled

Fed up with being driven out of their homes every time it floods.

In Summary
  • Currently, more than 48,000 residents have been affected by floods.
  • The residents have endured years of being displaced by floods but have always resisted calls to move to higher ground.

Thousands of Tana River residents living in low-lying areas have finally agreed to be permanently relocated to safe ground. 

The residents have endured years of being displaced by floods but have always resisted calls to move to higher ground.

Currently, more than 48,000 residents have been affected by floods.

 

Omar Dokota, a youth leader from Bandi, said they have suffered huge losses for many years.

Each time it floods we are forced to abandon our homes and camp on the roadside for months and then return to the same flood zone to start afresh, he said.

"We talked to the governor and he agreed to set aside land on higher ground at Minjila. We can't invade government land so we want to be shown by the government," Dokota said.

He urged the county to show them where to set up their new homes.

Some of those currently affected had returned to their homes a month ago after being displaced by floods. Now they are back to living in internally displaced people's camps.

The residents say they have realised just what losses they incur, and the cost involved to care for them in the camps. 

Kenya Red Cross Society last year began building houses for those living in flood-prone areas but some refused to choose higher ground and insisted the structures be put up on their low-lying land.

 

Red Cross obliged. 

When the rain came, and with it the floods, some of the villages were completely submerged. 

Tana Delta is one of the worst hit. 

Since Tuesday Kenya Red Cross secretary general Asha Mohamed has been visiting flood-prone areas and meeting the county leadership and area political leaders together with national government officials to find a permanent solution.

On Thursday the team visited some of the IDP camps in the Tana Delta at Bandi, Peponi, and went by boat to Galili along the flooded River Tana accompanied by area MCA Masha Boru and Garsen MP Hashaka Wario.

At Bandi, residents said they are tired of living in a flood-prone area and asked to be relocated.

In Galili village, homes are submerged and some residents are stuck, unable to get to safe areas. 

Wario said in Tana Delta only six wards can be accessed by boat. The rest have been cut off.

"The whole of Garsen Central is submerged, all of the wards are affected. The country is faced with the coronavirus pandemic but for us the biggest disaster is flooding," he said.

Wario gave out sanitiser and appealed to the national government to allocate funds to build 3,000 houses in safe zones.

Asha thanked the residents for agreeing to be relocated, saying it would save a lot of resources spent each year in supporting flood victims.

She said they are ready to partner with the county leadership to build the houses and promised to fast-track the process.

"Instead of using the funds to buy non-food items, it is better to promote the development of the community. We are happy that wananchci have agreed to move," she said.

Boru said if given land the residents will move to safe ground permanently. 

Edited by Josephine M. Mayuya