By Mwakwaya Raymond
The government has formed a multi-agency team to assess and formulate ways of mitigating effects of flooding experienced in Mombasa and its environs.
Rhoda Onyancha, the Coast regional coordinator, says the team, involving various government departments, will move with speed to deal with the prevailing situation to arrest further distraction of the floods.
Speaking at her Uhuru na Kazi building office on November 18, 2023 after chairing a security meeting, she said ten people across the region had lost their lives while 3,892 households have been adversely affected.
Out of households in question, 300 have been displaced where its inhabitants have lost their personal effects and property to floods.
An initial assessment report presented by various governmental departments indicate that Mombasa and Tana River counties lost 2 people while Kilifi and Kwale lost 3 persons each.
From the total households in distress, 1,332 families are from Tana River while Kwale had 681 and Kilifi 204 living in the cold after being displaced from their homes. Lamu and Taita Taveta counties’ households affected are 205 and 89 respectively.
According to regional boss the multi-agency team will work round the clock to ensure all affected families are attended to as fast as possible and within a reasonable time.
“This Multi Agency team will use all available resources and manpower to asses and monitor as well as mounting round the clock surveillance to ensure no life is lost through floods.”
The team comprises of members from the Kenya Red Cross, National Police Service, Kenya Power and Lighting Company, and World Food Program that will be coordinated by the national government.
Kenya Coast Guard which is expected to work with the Beach Management Units (BMUs) so as to monitor fishing activities and reporting any incident involving the lives of fisherman.
This morning meeting also resolved to have all government roads agencies: Kenya Rural Roads Authority KERA, Kenya National Highway Authority KENHA and Kenya Urban Roads Authority KURA to use machineries within their disposals to unblock the drainage and stormwater systems for easy flow of rainwaters.
Meanwhile, the Mombasa County government is soliciting for funds to mitigate the effects of the floods there.
Governor Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir says he has not received any coin from the national government to assist his electorates.
In his estimation the county needs Sh30 million to handle the current situation with more expected if the El Nino rains phenomenon continues to pound Mombasa and its environs.
“This is not normal rains and the last time such rains were experienced was in 1997 and l must say this time round most of us caught unawares.”
But his statement about national government’s response irked the arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) principal secretary Kello Harsama who dismissed his claims but declined to disclose how much the government had allocated to the county for El Nino mitigation.
“We are going to meet him (Governor) right after here (regional office) wacha aseme hayo tukiwa sote huko (let him say that when we are together).”
Speaking separately to the media, the governor said his administration had set up rescue centres to assist all flood victims with relief food and none foodstuff.
Under his programme, four hospitals have been earmarked to offer special services to the victims round-the-clock.
However, the county chief was at pains to explain a lasting solution to the perennial floods and blockages whenever seasonal rains came calling annually.
According to him haphazard construction of certain buildings within the island and its suburbs was to blame for the blockages of waterways, thus the frequent floods.
“If l will have to bring down some structures which of course it’s not my intention, but if need be, then l’II have to demolish them due to the way they have been constructed.”
Most residential estates and informal settlements were marooned by rainwaters making it difficult to render assistance because of the way houses were constructed.
In his county report, the governor indicates that 3,850 families were adversely affected by the rains that pounded Mombasa and its environs for about three days consecutively.