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Over 600 Riverine families displaced as river tana bursts its banks

At  least 624 families in Garissa have been displaced as river Tana burst its banks overnight as heavy rains that have been pounding the area for the last three days intensified.

Addressing  the press on Monday at the Farmers Training Centre (FTC) camp  where 150 families from Ziwani are camping, the Kenya Red Cross’ North Eastern Region Coordinator, Mohamed  Abdikadir  said that volunteers from the organization have toured various camps in Bakuyu, NEP Technical and other institutions to document the affected families with a view of establishing their requirements.

Abdikadir  said the most affected areas are Bula Kamor, Bula Punda, Bakuyu and Ziwani noting that their top priority was to rescue people who have been marooned by the raging floods.

Last  night  volunteers from Kenya Red Cross rescued at 15 people who had been marooned by flood waters at Hadama in Tana River County using a speedboat.

“Our priority for now is issues to do with sanitation because without toilets then there is the risk of outbreak of waterborne diseases that could make lives of these families more miserable,” Abdikadir said.

When the press visited the camp, the Red Cross volunteers were busy listing the victims.

Abdikadir said organization was taking precautions to ensure that only the actual victims are assisted.

“There are people who always take advantage and register as victims in order to benefit thereby locking out deserving victims. They stretch donations which include food and non-food items,” he said.

He gave the example of 2017 where several families masquerading as flood victims ended up receiving food and non-food items at the expense of the real victims.

The  Mororo Chief, Abdallah Ali said that although Red Cross and other humanitarian agencies have started documenting victims from yesterday, they are taking too long to provide most essential need such as food and putting up sanitary toilets.

Abdallah asked the county government of Garissa to hasten connection of piped safe drinking water to the camp that is now home to 260 displaced families.

“These families are desperately in need of assistance. Some of the victims who arrived here last night have not eaten since they arrived,” he said.

Meanwhile, residents living flood-prone area along the River Tana have been urged to move to safer grounds to avoid the impact of flooding which is currently ravaging the area after the River Tana burst its banks.

This  follows continued heavy rainfall experienced in different parts of the county.

Addressing  the press after a multi-agency meeting at the County Commissioner boardroom, the County Director of Special Programmes and Humanitarian Affairs, Abdinoor Ole Hussein said those living in flood prone areas were endangering their lives by defying the orders to move out.

The Garissa County Commissioner (CC), Mwangi Meru called upon those living near and along the river bank in areas like Ziwani, Bakuyu, Windsor, Bulla Iftin, Bulla ADC, Hyuga Girls and Bulla Sheikh to move to higher grounds.

Mwangi said that both the county and national government in collaboration with Kenya Red Cross, WFP, UNICEF and other agencies have teamed up to ensure that all the necessary assistance to the flood victims reach them

By  Jacob  Songok

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