Thousands displaced as floods hit Taveta border town
Over 5,000 people in Taveta sub-county have been displaced by severe flooding in the last three days as heavy rains continue to pound the region.
A situational analysis report by Red Cross warns that the region might be facing unprecedented humanitarian crisis if mitigating measures are not taken to remedy the situation.
The first heavy deluge pounded areas of Kimorigho and its environs late last week causing massive destruction of property.
The Friday’s 6-hour long downpour destroyed 290 households forcing thousands of local residents to spend the night in the cold. Over 50 latrines were also destroyed forcing the locals to engage in open defecation which raises fears of disease outbreak.
Other villages hardest hit by the deluge included Challa, Njoro, Bura Ndogo, Mata, Jipe and Riata. In these villages, 608 houses were affected by the rains while 44 pit latrines collapsed. Over 3, 648 residents were displaced.
Speaking to Tupo on Monday, Red Cross County Coordinator Joram Oranga said humanitarian aid was being taken to the affected regions, but said more needed to be done to contain the situation He said that his officers were working closely with public health officers to mitigate the effects of the flooding.
“The situation is bad. We are working with stakeholders to safeguard the health of the residents against disease outbreak which is our major concern,” he said.
Amongst the diseases that might erupt include cholera, diarrhoea and typhoid. Children who have been left homeless also run the risk of contracting pneumonia. However, so far no case of loss of life has been reported.
Over the weekend, Kimala and Eldoro areas experienced heavy downpour leading to displacement of 900 families. The situation is made worse by the surface runoff that is flooding the area from heavy rains in Tanzania.
At Bahati area, residents woke up to shocking scenes of three human skulls in different parts of the village after the floods allegedly ripped through a public cemetery exhuming dead bodies.
Red Cross has started distributing water and other essential aids to the affected people. The team has distributed 13, 200 sachets of water purifiers, 932 mosquito nets, 758 pieces of blankets and 758 bars of soaps. There has also been issuing out of 758 jerrican of clean water and 379 tarpaulins that will provide temporary shelter for the affected people.
In Kimorigho, dozens of acres of banana plantation were submerged while other crops and animals were washed away. The locals blame the massive flooding on China City Construction Company (CCCC), the road construction company working on Mwatate-Taveta road, claiming the company diverted water into residential areas.
Mary Shingila, a mother of two, said she has spent two nights in the cold after her house was washed away. She fears her one-year old child might come down with cold.
“This has never happened before. The company did not plan for drainage properly,” she said.
County Commissioner Kula Hache said the County Disaster Response Team has already dispatched food aid to the affected areas. She added that close monitoring was being conducted to confirm the extent of the flooding effects.
“We are handling the situation through the Disaster Response Committee. Food aid has been sent to the people in the affected areas,” she said.
In April, the meteorological department had issued a warning over some areas across the country receiving above-average rainfall amounts. Taita-Taveta County was identified as one of the areas that might receive heavy rains.
The area is a flood-prone area due to its low-lying terrain and geographical location. Every year, the region suffers from flooding incidences although they are not as severe as what is being currently experienced. There are reports that children from the affected homesteads are not attending classes as fears of more rains abound in the region.