Flood and Drought Management Tools

It is more of reaction than prevention

By Harriet Ashoro | Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company Limited

The ongoing heavy rain continues to cause panic and destruction in several parts of Kenya. Flooding has affected several counties in Kenya and thousands have been displaced. Several buildings have flooded, roads have become impassable, people have lost their property, others rendered homeless and others died due to effects of flooding.

Despite the long rains which commencing in April being an annual phenomenon, we still experience great destruction, even as the weatherman informs the country. This then means that either we do not have proper planning system in place or the information is not properly disseminated. Some of the flood disasters that we have experienced recently are;

In Nairobi, a six-story residential building collapsed late on Friday 29 April, 2016. Many died, some are still missing and many families got displaced.

Figure 1. The collapsed building in Huruma, Nairobi

Effects of floods in the neighboring County Siaya (as seen in figure 2) could become vast if the electric pole that is submerged in the flood water rots and falls into the water. The mud-thatched house could also fall if its foundation gets washed away by the stagnant water thereby rendering the owner homeless.

Figure 2. Electric pole submerged in water

Figure 3. A mud-house submerged in water

A seven-year-old boy was electrocuted after an electricity poll fell during heavy rains in Likoni, Mombasa. A witness said the child was on his way from a nearby house when he got electrocuted and died. "We are not getting any services here. The area has been flooding for several years and no action has been taken so far," the witness added.

Lack of proper dissemination of information up to the grassroots level puts such residents at a greater risk. The government through its agencies continues to devise for ways to avert natural disasters caused by flooding but their efforts are still not enough as more tragic occurrences continue to be experienced. What is now happening is that we are seeing more of the response than the preventive action. Tools provided by the planning DSS can really be of revalue, because it caters for prevention of both drought and flooding events and can be effectively used in preparation for either phenomenon. The DSS will also provide a platform to disseminate information accordingly and give finer details.