The government on Wednesday distributed food and non-food items to more than 222 families affected by landslides and floods in Kilungu Sub County.
The Interior and Coordination of National Government Cabinet Secretary (CS), Dr. Fred Matiang’i and his Devolution and ASALs counterpart, Eugene Wamalwa led the exercise at Tusunini Primary School where the affected families have sought refuge and gave 500 bags of rice, blankets, mosquito nets, bar soaps, tents among other items.
Matiang’i urged residents living in mudslide and flood prone areas to move to safer grounds and avert loss of lives.
He disclosed that so far, more than 150 deaths caused by the deluge had been reported across the country and called for caution even as the government strives to help affected families.
The CS directed chiefs and assistant chiefs to ensure that assets belonging to residents who have been asked to move to safer grounds are secured.
“Many residents living in risky regions are hesitant to move because they fear that their property will be stolen. The local administrators should collaborate with village elders through community policing to protect any assets left behind,” said Matiang’i.
He assured the affected families of the government’s commitment in supporting them until normalcy returns.
“We are working in collaboration with the Kenya Red Cross, the county government and other stakeholders to help those affected by the rains until they go back to their normal lives,” he added.
Matiang’i also promised that the government will cater for funeral expenses of those who died due to mudslides.
Thirteen people have died across the county due to flood related incidents with Kilungu being the worst hit by mudslides.
A seven- year -old girl died on the wee hours of Sunday morning after the house she was sleeping caved in. Her six- year -old brother sustained injuries and was taken to Kilungu sub county hospital where he was treated and discharged.
On Saturday, Jonnes Kioko, 24, from Kikoko village and Richard David,40, from Kyalwe village died after their houses collapsed following a mud slide caused by heavy rains on Friday night.
Following the landslides 135 people whose houses are at risk are camping at Tusunini primary, Katulye Primary and St. Catherine Primary schools.
On his part CS Wamalwa attributed the flash floods to climate change and underscored the need for those living in hilly regions and near rivers to move to avoid floods and landslides.
“The frequency at which the country experiences drought and flash floods has increased with the situation getting worse. This year alone the country experienced both drought and deluge,” he said.
The Makueni Governor, Prof. Kivutha Kibwana said the floods had wreaked havoc in the county leaving a trail of destruction.
“Besides the death of 13 people, five dams have been washed away and 67 key roads destroyed affecting livelihoods of many residents,’’ said Kivutha.
Building Bridges Initiatives (BBI) report also took the spotlight with Kivutha opposing any initiative to have the parliament implement the recommendations.
The governor said the implementation of the BBI report should be a people driven process and Kenyans should be given priority for the constitutional changes.
“I support the BBI as the governor of Makueni and I will personally initiate civic education up to the village level so that people can understand and have a deep national conversation,” he said.
Kivutha noted that the BBI and the 2004 Bomas constitution draft bear the same similarities that Kenyans initially wanted, saying the report will achieve the Bomas draft aspirations.
“Past reports towards reforms in Kenya have been summarized in the BBI report, including the Koffi Annan’s agenda four 1997-2006 on stronger human rights promotion,” added the governor.
The two CS’s echoed Kivutha’s sentiments on BBI and told off critics of the report.
“I concur that the report should be implemented through the people as stated in article 255 of the constitution,” said Wamalwa.
Matiang’i said the report will be taken to Kenyans to determine the next move and castigated those proposing for constitutional reforms through parliament.
The Cabinet secretaries were accompanied by Makueni woman Representative, Rose Museo, MPs Joshua Kimilu (Kaiti) Thaddeus Zambia (Kilome), former Kaiti MP Richard Makenga, County Commissioner Maalim Mohammed among other leaders.
By Roselyne Kavoo/Patrick Nyakundi