Residents in Garissa and the neighboring Tana River counties living along River Tana have been asked by the meteorological department to move to safer grounds to avoid possible flooding caused by the current rainfalls.
In the past, residents have been struck by the floods causing displacements and destruction of property, while in other instances human and livestock lives have been lost.
According to the meteorological department flood alert advisory, the current ongoing rainfall pounding Embu, Meru, Murang’a, Nyeri, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Tharaka Nithi, Kitui, Machakos and Makueni counties might impact negatively by increasing the water volume of river Tana to above flood level, resulting into floods within Garissa County.
A spot check in Mororo settlement, just after the Tana Bridge in Garissa, showed that River Tana has overflowed, finding its way into the settlements.
According to the meteorological department, some of the water catchment areas, which may lead to significant rise in Tana water level include Masinga, Kamburu, Gitaru, Kindaruma and Kiambere dams.
Residents have also been urged to move both people and livestock to higher grounds, avoid crossing any moving water, harvest rain water and relocate equipment to safe areas to avoid loss.
At the same time, relevant disaster management institutions have been called upon to strengthen coordination through defining the emergency decision framework and strengthening coordination among emergency actors.
Speaking to the press in Garissa town, Kenya Red Cross North Eastern Regional Manager Mohamed Abdikadir urged communities living along the river to take precaution and move to high grounds to avoid displacements.
“We are seeing water in River Tana rise by the day. This is a clear indication that there will be flooding in the areas along the river. We all know what these floods mean to our people. It has had adverse effects on the lives and livelihood of our people,” Abdikadir said.
Abdikadir said that the organization was on a standby mode to attend to any incident if and when they arise including providing assorted items to affected families.
The Red Cross officer noted that they have in the past commissioned an emergency operation center for disaster management in conjunction with the county government, which they are currently using to monitor the ongoing rains and possible areas of flooding.
Speaking separately, Kenya livestock farmers’ federation chairman Dubat Amey appealed to both the national and county government to remain proactive and act on time to avoid losses like it has happened in previous years.
Last week, the meteorological department warned of heavy rains from 20th Monday to around 22nd December 2021.
Among the counties affected are Embu, Meru, Murang’a, Nairobi, Nyeri, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Tharaka Nithi, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Isiolo, Garissa, Tana River, Taita Taveta, Kilifi, Lamu and parts of Mombasa.
By Erick Kyalo