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Kisumu County faulted for slow response to flood emergencies in slums

Flood victims in Kisumu receive aid on December 12, 2019/COURTESY

KISUMU, Kenya, Dec 22 – A Non-Governmental Organization has lashed out at authorities in Kisumu County for falling to respond to the needs of flood victims within informal settlements.

Director of Kisumu Network of Grassroots Association Lawrence Apiyo Saturday accused the Governor Anyang Nyong’o-led administration of focusing on flood victims in the sub-counties of Nyando, Nyakach and Muhoroni while leaving affected families in Nyalenda and Dunga slums dejected.

“It is not in Nyando only, it is not in Ahero only, the flooding is happening right here within the city and it is mostly affecting the population living in the informal settlement,” he said

The community organization leader said there was no response even after flood claimed one life within Dunga area.

Apiyo said the county government ignored those residing in the informal settlement and decided to go out to respond to other flood victims neglecting those who are on their doorstep.

Most of the food aid under the banner of Kisumu Community Flood Mitigation Team is distributed to the sub county  evacuation camps.

Apiyo said many families were living in the cold while others in dilapidated houses after heavy rains that pounded the area in the recent days left a trail of destruction.

“These people are affected in a great way, look around, houses are failing, what is the county government is doing?” he told journalists during the burial of one of the flood victims.

READ: 220 households displaced in Kisumu as Lake levels surge following heavy rainfall

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The 40-year-old man, who was living with disability died inside his house after flood water submerged it.

His body was later discovered by his family members.

Apiyo who condoled with the family and donated food stuff through the Kisumu Network of Grassroots Association said no county official had visited the area to access the damage caused by floods and offer support.

He said failure by the county to plan had resulted in preventable flood-related deaths.

“What are they planning, what are the immediate mitigation measures, like opening up drainage systems?” he asked.

Apiyo said there is enough space within the areas that can accommodate water ways to direct excess water into Lake Victoria.

He noted that the county government should move to the informal settlements and work out on a long-term initiative to improve on the housing situation.

“The County Government must engage intensively with those living in the informal settlement who forms 75 percent of the population in Kisumu City on how we can improve housing,” he said.

The Association, according to Apiyo, has worked over the years to form housing cooperatives with no support from the local government.

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Intensive rains causing havoc in the region have subsided in the past two days giving much-needed relief to families still living in camps within the three sub counties.

Meanwhile the flood mitigation team continues to receive food and non-food items from well-wishers to respond to the affected families whose crops were also washed away by the raging floods.

On Saturday, West Kenya Sugar Company, the producers of Kabras Sugar distributed food stuffs worth Sh2 million to flood victims in Nyando and Muhoroni sub counties.

The Company Manager Bihari Mohalik said they are growing sugarcane in the two sub counties in large scale and will respond to any distress call from the residents as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility.

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