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Farmers along River Tana decry perennial floods

farmers doing irrigation along river Tana decry perennial floods

A section of farmers doing irrigation along River Tana in Garissa county have decried perennial floods that have repeatedly destroyed their farms in the process destroying their sources of livelihood.
They blame the spillage of the KenGen dams in Kindaruma situated on River Tana for the massive floods downstream.
In May this year at the height floods, Garissa Governor Ali Korane blamed the government over floods that have caused untold suffering among residents as he reiterated their intention to sue KenGen.
Korane took a swipe at energy CS Charles Keter who had issued a warning to people of Hola, Garissa, Bura and Garsen to move to higher ground over impending floods following the spilling of Masinga dam upstream.
“It’s not logical to tell people to move from their residential homes just because you want to release water that is known to cause destructions, where would you want them to move to?” Governor Korane said.
The Governor said it was improper for KenGen and other government agencies to release excess water from their dams without taking into consideration the destruction of livelihoods.
He said their bid to seek legal remedy has been boosted after civil society and groups of farmers who lost their farm products during floods two weeks ago joined the efforts to pursue justice.
Talking to KNA on phone Thursday, Mohamed Hussein, one the beneficiaries of Oxfam funded pilot project to help jumpstart the irrigation farms after massive invasion of locust and destruction caused by flood said he couldn’t commence the project because farms are inaccessible because of the current floods.
“Our backbone as farmers is vegetables that have now been destroyed completely by the floods that have been continuous for some time now,” Hussein said.
Hussein who is the chairman of Abafodho group of farmers in Tana River County said the locust invasion late last year and early this year that also devoured their crops had worsened the situation and there has never been commitment by the government to compensate them.
Some 25 farms in Tana River County were given each given shs 38,400 in projects implemented by Arid Lands Development Focus (ALDEF) that was aimed at recovering from calamities that befell them in the recent months.
Hussein said the latest floods washed away diesel engines as well destroying canals that feed more than 200 farms along the river.
“We asked the government to help us in solving the recurring floods because we can no longer feed our families since the farms have been destroyed,” he said.
He said ALDEF interventions ‘is able to restart our life after calamities left devastations in our farms’.
Hussein said, ‘despite numerous calls’ for help from the government and local political leaders they haven’t gotten any assistance noting that ‘we have no capacity to jumpstart our farms unless KenGen compensates us’.

By Jacob Songok

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