Nelly Bassily | December 12, 2011
John Owida and his family are one of hundreds of families in Western Kenya who have lost their crops and are left homeless by recent floods. The Siaya and Ugenya districts are the worst hit areas close to Ugunja, where the River Nzoia has broken its banks due to heavy rains.
Mr. Owida explains: “My family and I have nowhere to call home now. My house and livestock were all swept down the river. We are counting on the generosity of neighbours and well-wishers to get a place to spend the night.”
Torrents of water swept homesteads along the river banks away. People have lost stocks of food, animals and household goods. More than 100 families are camping in schools and other institutions, waiting for government aid.
The Ugunja Community Resource Centre is one of Farm Radio International’s broadcasting partners based in this region. Aggrey Omondi is the Chief Executive Officer. He estimates that over 20,000 people are affected. By email, he advises that the situation is so bad that any assistance is welcome. Immediate needs include medical services, food, blankets and bedding. The floodwaters have not yet receded, and conditions are getting worse. Mr. Omondi says, “Cases of waterborne diseases like cholera have started and we would wish to act but we have no resources to do anything except to visit and counsel [people].”
The Kenya Red Cross has been distributing cooking oil, blankets and medicine. But Mr. Omondi contends that the response from relief agencies is slow. He says, “Red Cross has not reached many of the places despite desperate calls to assist infants and old men who we found shivering from the harsh cold.” Mr. Omondi and his colleagues have been out meeting affected people in their camps and taking their data to share with the authorities.
Officials are assessing need and advising people to move to higher ground while relief efforts are being organized.
For further reports on this story, see:
Kenya floods displace thousands (video) http://www.trust.org/alertnet/multimedia/video-and-audio/detail.dot?mediaInode=a158147b-968f-414e-abdd-4f2bc6d588b3 (video)
Flash floods displace families in Siaya
Floods’ death toll rise to 24, displace 100,000