Coastal Kenya Struggles with Severe Flooding, Calls for Urgent Relief

Addis Ababa, the coastal counties of Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, and Tana River in Kenya are facing a critical situation due to severe flooding caused by recent heavy rains. The region, overwhelmed by floodwaters, has seen residents forced to evacuate as their homes and properties were destroyed.

According to Kenya News Agency, The Kenya Red Cross Society’s coastal region is urgently calling for humanitarian assistance to support 1,224 individuals affected by these unprecedented floods. Hassan Musa, the regional manager, outlined the efforts made by the Red Cross in providing essential aid to those in 42 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps across the affected areas.

Musa reported that, with support from county governments, the Red Cross has distributed food, kitchen sets, blankets, tarpaulins, sleeping mats, insecticide-treated mosquito nets, and water disinfectants. However, the needs of the flood victims remain acute, with necessities like food, medicine, and clean water in high demand.

With more rains forecasted, the situation is critical, especially given the heightened risk of water-borne diseases and a potential food crisis. Musa highlighted the increasing risks of cholera and malaria, with cases already reported in Tana River and Lamu counties. Relief supplies are being airlifted and transported by water to these hard-hit areas.

He urged residents living near the River Tana and other flood-prone zones to relocate to safer areas to prevent further disasters. Many, especially in remote locations, have yet to receive substantial aid and require food, medication, mattresses, and blankets.

During a press briefing in Kwale County, Musa emphasized that the ongoing El Niño weather phenomenon continues to inflict significant damage across the coastal region. This phenomenon has led to rising temperatures and exacerbated extreme weather events, including severe droughts and catastrophic flooding.

The Red Cross is actively involved in rescue and evacuation operations, particularly in the Tana Delta sub-county of Tana River, where the flooding has been particularly devastating. The impact on agriculture is severe, with extensive farmland washed away, food reserves and crops destroyed, and livestock depletion.

Musa assured that the Red Cross is working tirelessly to maintain the IDP camps, focusing on ensuring they are fumigated and equipped with necessary amenities to provide a habitable environment for the affected families.

The National El Niño Steering Committee reported that the floods have resulted in 120 fatalities, with Tana River, Garissa, Wajir, and Mandera being the worst affected. Counties such as Isiolo, Kwale, Homabay, Makueni, Tharaka Nithi, Lamu, Taita Taveta, Meru, and Kisumu remain on high alert due to the ongoing crisis.