- Kindiki said planting of trees was part of the government's strategy to deal with floods and drought in the long term.
- He said the government has declared climate change a threat to national security.
At least 46 people have been killed by flash floods across the country as a result of the ongoing El Nino rains.
Interior CS Kithure Kindiki on Monday said the victims drowned. He urged Kenyans to heed the advice of the government and move to safer areas as the rains persist.
“I want to appeal to Kenyans not to take chances when it comes to flood waters. We have already lost 46 people through this. Take great caution. When our officers tell you to evacuate from flood areas, please comply, and if you don’t, we will force you so that we can save lives,” Kindiki said.
He was speaking at the Garissa University where he presided over the tree planting session in Northeastern region.
Some 14 people were killed by flash floods in Northern Kenya, while another two deaths were recorded in Nairobi where two boys drowned in two separate incidents.
At the same time, hundreds of families in Windsor, Bulla Sheikh, Bulla Punda, Ziwani, Bakuyu in Garissa county and Mororo in Tana River county, were forced out of their homes after River Tana broke its banks.
And the rains are bound to persist.
The Red Cross has already asked those in flood-prone areas in Western, South Rift and the Lake Basin regions, to be alert and move to higher zones.
Kenya Red Cross secretary general Idris Ahmed on Sunday said the rains, depending on the area, have different effects at different times.
"If you look at the weather forecast in the next two weeks, we shall have more concern in Western Kenya, lake basin, South rift region," he said.
He said counties in the northern region including Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Marsabit, Samburu, Isiolo were among the worst hit.
In Garissa, Kindiki said planting of trees was part of the government's strategy to deal with floods and drought in the long term.
He said the government has declared climate change a threat to national security.
“As a ministry, we are taking this issue of climate change as a big threat to national security because when drought sets in, clashes between farmers and pastoralists are witnessed. This is because pastoralists are looking for pasture for their animals while farmers are plating for food. That is why we have defined climate change as one of the five major security threat in our country today,” he said.
Kindiki who was flanked by county leaders led by Garissa Governor Nathif Jama, said his ministry has directed the chiefs and assistant chiefs to make sure they inculcate the culture of tree planting in their respective jurisdictions.
He said the tree planting will now be a culture in the country, something he noted was meant to save the country from the ravage of climate change including drought and floods.
On the issue security, the CS acknowledged support from the community, adding that this had gone a long way in improving the security.
“People of Northeastern have continued to support us in fighting al Shabaab and terrorism in general. This is very commendable and the way to go, as a government we will continue to work with people to help weed out al Shabab militant,” he said.
On the issue of extrajudicial killings which has remained a thorn in the flesh of the region, he assured local leadership that the government will fight terrorism without hurting residents.
The issue of extrajudicial killing and disappearance has been rampant in the region with security being blamed for the abductions. So bad is the situation that the CS was last week grilled over the same after local leaders raised the issue in Parliament.
"I want to say without any fear of contradiction that this administration does not condone extrajudicial killings and extrajudicial processes. And therefore, we are going to fight terrorism without hurting our people. The issue of religion will never ever be dragged in this fight,” he said.
He said the issue has been discussed internally at the top level, assuring the leadership and residents that going forward, there will be no extrajudicial killings and extrajudicial processes in the fight against terror.
During the ceremony, Lagdera MP Abdikadir Hussein called on the government to move with speed and have both food and non-food items airlifted to parts of his constituency that have been completely cut off.
“As we speak, three villages of my constituency have completely been submerged. We have Baraki, Shanta Abaq and Gurufa where people cannot be reached. This are the people we want to see the government and other partners move with speed and offer the much needed assistance,” he said.
On the issue of the Garissa Modogashe road that has been completely cut in several sections, the MP called on the CS to ask his Roads counterpart to help fix it so that help can reach areas that have been cut off.
He also took issue with the road design saying the fact that the road is frequently washed away whenever there are floods, was a clear indication there were clear design flaws which need to be corrected going forward.
Nominated MP Umulkher Harun called on the government to walk the talk when it comes to stopping extrajudicial killings, saying that it was hurting the fight against terror.
“Security belongs to everyone. If the same community that we want to help us in the fight against militants is intimidated, then it will be counterproductive,” she said.