, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 16 – The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) on Saturday appealed to the national and county governments to adequately prepare for the El Nino rains expected in October this year.
KRCS Chief Executive Officer Abbas Gullet said with the rains experienced two weeks ago, signs were clear that Kenya will have El Nino rains.
“We already know the October-November short rains will have an El Nino effect. The rains we have been getting a few weeks ago are freak rains which are a precursor to the main El Nino,” he cautioned.
“How prepared are we all the time… whether it’s a county government or a central government? So we don’t want to be shocked when we see those pictures,” he warned.
According to Gullet – whose society has been at the forefront in providing humanitarian aid in drought or flood hit areas – the El Nino warning should be taken seriously right from the national government to the counties to alleviate the effects that come with heavy flooding.
The Kenya Meteorological Department already issued a warning that Kenya will experience heavy floods in various parts of the country
During such heavy rains, people living in areas prone to landslides and flooding are urged to move to higher grounds.
Such preparations include provision of food, shelter and medicine due to water related diseases that have been associated with heavy flooding.
Gullet expressed concerns that Kenya has been experiencing insufficient rains meaning that parts of the country are already facing drought.
Affected areas include Marsabit around Loiyangalani area, Turkana and Mandera Counties which according to Gullet are areas of focus as they are experiencing drought.
Baringo, Samburu, Wajir, Mandera, Garissa and Tana River have also been rated poorly based on nutrition indicators.
Gullet explained that Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, Baringo, Turkana and Samburu which have food shortage have had perennial fighting which leads to displacement of people.
While he linked the clashes to insecurity, he urged the country to address underlying causes of instability in such areas to ensure that such communities have a secure environment that can allow them to engage in productive activities that can give them food.
“Disruption of livelihoods due to displacements and violence partly contributes to current food security situation. It will take time before community productivity is restored, and hence, communities will remain highly vulnerable,” he asserted.
Gullet urged Kenyans to send contributions to help the KRCS raise Sh659 million required to support the school feeding programme in drought stricken areas, rehabilitation of water points in Turkana, Mandera, Marsabit, Baring, Wajir and Samburu counties.
He said the contributions will assist 632,500 people being targeted in the projects that KRSC is undertaking this year.