Wajir County Government in collaboration with the National Government on Tuesday approved a Rapid Assessment Report zeroing in on flood situation in Wajir North but focusing on the whole county.
The meeting was co-chaired by Wajir County Commissioner Loyford Kibaara and County Secretary Abdullahi Hassan at Wajir National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Hall.
Reminding the stakeholders that a prayer meeting had been held not to so long ago pray for rain, the County Commissioner Loyford Kibaara noted that the rain had come with both blessings and challenges.
Blessings prayed for, he said, had resulted in replenishment of pasture after a prolonged dry spell which had led to death and poor condition of livestock in general.
However, with the onset of the rains, the extra downpour has led to a deluge and flash floods in Northern parts of Wajir County.
According to County Commissioner Kibaara, approximately 50,000 people are feared to be affected.
Kibaara called for initiation of a county response plan involving Health, Veterinary and Education departments among others to provide quick fix measures and provide emergency food stuffs to locals.
According to Wajir Meteorological Departmental Head Daniel Wanjui, there are projections of more rain in the next two weeks since the Ethiopian Highlands are experiencing heavy rains.
“The aim of this forum is to share and come up with mitigation measures in anticipation of the deluge,” observed Kibaara.
The most immediately affected areas, according to the County Commissioner, are Ajame and Buna Town which have been totally marooned.
“Buna town has not been accessible from either Wajir town or Moyale for the last two weeks,” observed Abdikadir Hussein of NDMA, who suggested diversion of water away from Buna Township.
The assessment dates namely, October 12 and 13 ,2019 indicates that the places greatly affected include Gurar, Korondile, Buna, Bute and they wish to establish contact with the National Government and engage Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) in a bid to fast track solutions to assist the affected communities.
In addition, revealed the NDMA official, Griftu and Eldas Sub Counties have been affected by run off from Ethiopian Highlands.
According to Hussein of NDMA, the deluge has resulted in the death of one female in Gurar, with 1654 households affected and 1616 livestock, especially sheep and goats (shoats) lost.
Abdikadir also noted that 950 latrines collapsed in Griftu, Aden, Awale and Arabajan.
“In addition, five schools closed due to floods and lack of access; and boreholes 1 and 2 submerged in Buna while Bute hospital has been inundated for five days and a hospital toilet damaged.
The County Secretary called for massive immunization against Rift Valley Fever (RVF) for Griftu and Hygiene promotion and health education.
“There is also need for water purification and chemical treatment, provision of relief food, repair of toilets and evacuation of Buna Primary School,” reiterated the County Secretary.
Abdikadir Mohamed called on the roads department to utilise tractors and shovels to divert water away from Buna Town.
He thanked the Special Programmes Department for dispatching a shovel to Buna to start the exercise.
Assuring the committee of its commitment to fight Rift Valley Fever (RVF) menace, Veterinary Services Director Dr. George Kiprono assured the committee that he has a team which is ready to roll out a 21 day vaccination exercise.
“Noting that the County experienced a similar situation in 2016, 2017 and 2018, we have in store 600,000 vaccines to immediately attend to livestock in two sub counties,” said Dr. Kiprono, adding that there are two teams on standby each comprising five people to cover two sub counties.
The County Secretary on his part assured the Veterinary team that the county government will provide logistics as well as allowances for the field staff.
The Red Cross on its part assured the committee that it will provide 433 composite Family Feeding kits, 604, 20 litres cooking oil jerricans and 612 metric tons of cereals.
Meanwhile the County Directorate of Disaster Management and Humanitarian Coordination has alerted communities living along seasonal rivers, slopes of hills, swampy areas and water ways to relocate to higher grounds to avoid effects of flash floods.
Issuing the alert, County Secretary Abdullahi Hassan advised communities to be vigilant at night as floods pose a greater risk while people are asleep.
“High risk areas for floods include: Korondile, Buna, Gurar, Danaba, Malkagufu, Godoma, Bute, Masalale, Eldas Town, Kilkile, Dad-hantalai, Griftu Township, Arbajan, Adan Awale,Barragodhey, Fatuma Noor, Jiira, Hadado, Lagbogol, Habaswein, Abkorey, Dimanyale, Meri, Darfur, Shantaabaq, Dambas, Haragal, Majabow,” said the Secretary in a statement released to the media Tuesday.
Other areas of major concern are Gunana in Tarbaj Sub County and Warade in Eldas Sub County.
Further, the Wajir municipality is undertaking heightened clean up in Makoror slaughterhouse on the outskirts of Wajir town and within the Central Business District so as to mitigate against outbreak of diseases, especially cholera, added the County Secretary.
By Donald Ngala