Over 40,000 people from Kenya’s Tana River County are staring at a possible humanitarian crisis after being displaced by the ongoing El Nino rains pounding the East African region, according to the Red Cross.
Most of the affected are from Garsen town. They said that the rains forced them to move from their homes into El Nino rescue camps but as the water continued rising, forcing them to evacuate to higher grounds.
Sofia Mwari, a teacher at Ngao Girls High School in Tana River County, told Anadolu Agency that all the seasonal rivers had burst their banks last week.
“There is too much rain, all the rivers are full with water and the water is rising by the day, from the Tana Delta to Garsen the situation is the same, many are fleeing to higher grounds,” she said.
“Though people may be able to run away from the floods, they can’t handle the hunger; we don’t have any food,” she added.
Juma Jarso, a farmer and a businessman, told Anadolu Agency that he had lost all of his livestock and all of his produce.
“A few weeks ago, I had food, I had a home, but now I have nothing," he said. "My animals have been killed by the floods and I have lost all my crops. Here at the camps, we don’t have medicine. With this weather, people are getting sick, our children are in need of medical help.”
Jarso added that the government should release the $48.9 million, "that president Kenyatta said was set aside to help those who are affected by the El Nino rains. This is the only way we will avoid any deaths”.
The affected are currently being sheltered in over 35 El Nino camps in the town of Garsen. Most of them are children, women and elderly.
The 40,000 also lack water as the floods have destroyed latrines in the remote areas, additionally contaminating the sources.
According to the Kenya Red Cross, Tana River County had set aside $489,000 in readiness for the El Nino rains, funds which the aid organization says are not enough.
Kenya Red Cross Society’s Gerald Bombe told Anadolu Agency that urgent help was needed.
“Right now we are trying to help those who are most vulnerable, we need additional help as there is a shortage of medicine, food and water in this area.”