, MACHAKOS, Kenya, Oct 5 – Machakos County has put in place measures to mitigate the effects of the looming El Nino rains.
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua says the measures include setting aside Sh300 million to tackle flooding, displacement of households, water borne diseases, food decay and aflatoxin among other calamities.
Mutua said his government will construct 500 weirs (low dams) to hold water in rivers and streams across all sub locations in the county.
He urged communities where the river dams are being built to provide labour and locally available materials like sand, stones and gravel.
Mutua said that his government will provide drawings and professional expertise on where and how to construct the weirs.
“We are also on the watch out for possible destruction of infrastructure like roads and bridges,” said Mutua.
Speaking after chairing a Cabinet meeting on El Nino preparedness, Mutua said there was need for urgent planning to ensure that Machakos citizens do not suffer due to the heavy rains.
“My government has come up with a Cabinet memo that seeks approval for disaster response and also plans to take advantage of the rains by harvesting water,”said Mutua.
“We as a county are fully prepared for the heavy rains and its effects,” said Mutua.
The Machakos County Director of Communications, Mutinda Mwanzia told journalists in Machakos Town that an education, information and communication campaign to enlighten Machakos residents on the El Nino and its effects has already begun.
“We will utilise barazas, schools, churches and mosque announcements on radios, TV and newspaper campaigns,” said Mwanzia.
Mutua appealed to people living in disaster prone areas in the county like hills, and river banks to relocate to safer areas.
He said his government will construct the 500 river dams across the county to retain the rain water for domestic and agricultural uses.
“We want to ensure that even when the rains end, we are left with enough water for our use. We cannot let all the water go to the Indian Ocean,” said Mutua.
The Machakos Governor said that the dams will be ready by mid this month.
“Already, identification of the sites where the dams will be built has already been done by my water officers and the construction of the weirs has begun,” said Mutua.