After losing everything in floods, Mama Kenya finally gets a helping hand

Fortunately, her kindness over the years has afforded her a warm reception

In Summary

•“I lost everything,” said Mama Kenya. “The fruits and vegetables in my shop were all washed away."

•UNICEF and partners have supported families like Mama Kenya’s with relief items such as mats, blankets, buckets, containers for water, water purifiers, soap, kitchen utensils and waterproof tarpaulin sheets.

Ekai Lomoru (Affectionately known as Mama Kenya by fellow villagers) loses her shop, home and all belongings during recent floods in Loturerei Village, Lodwar.
Ekai Lomoru (Affectionately known as Mama Kenya by fellow villagers) loses her shop, home and all belongings during recent floods in Loturerei Village, Lodwar.
Image: Enock Chinyenze

Ekai Lomoru, affectionately known as ‘Mama Kenya’ to her fellow villagers, stands on a pile of sand that a few weeks ago was a fully stocked shop.

She lost both her shop and home during the recent heavy rains and floods. Mama Kenya’s home was just one of 70 houses that were partially or completely destroyed in Lotererei Village, Lodwar. The floods were worse than anyone in the area can remember.

Villagers in Turkana typically build houses out of reeds and mud. These are normally durable in the hot and dry semi-arid climate. The recent unusual heavy rains pouring down across the country, however, have rendered these structures useless as they disintegrate in water. Caught unawares, Loturerei villagers were lucky to escape without casualties, but had no chance of saving their belongings.

“I lost everything,” said Mama Kenya. “The fruits and vegetables in my shop were all washed away. I wasn’t able to save anything from my house either. I was lucky to find my identity card at the other side of the river once the floods subsided. I am now living with my daughter-in-law where I’ve constructed a temporary shelter with the tarpaulin sheet we received from UNICEF.”

Mama Kenya is a mother of five children, the youngest just 12 years old. She lives mostly on her own as her older children are grown up and her husband has several other wives. Everyone knows her as Mama Kenya because over the years she has cared for so many people. Now she is the one who needs help.

Fortunately, her kindness over the years has afforded her a warm reception, even though many of the villagers are recovering from the same disaster.

UNICEF and partners have supported families like Mama Kenya’s with relief items such as mats, blankets, buckets, containers for water, water purifiers, soap, kitchen utensils and waterproof tarpaulin sheets.

For many of these families, having to start again from scratch, all the items are put into immediate use. With heavy rains ongoing, waterproof tarpaulin sheets in particular are ensuring that their temporary structures stay dry.

UNICEF has sent supplies in response to the heavy rains and floods experienced in Kenya since mid-October, bringing relief to around 130,000 affected people.

“Children’s lives have been interrupted by the ongoing rains and floods in Kenya, with many of them losing their homes, schools and access to health care,” UNICEF Kenya Representative Maniza Zaman says. “UNICEF is working closely with county governments in affected areas to provide life-saving interventions, to meet the immediate needs of flood-affected children and their families.”