KWALE COUNTY FLOOD RESPONSE
The Kenya Meteorological Department had warned of heavy rainfall that was to start on Thursday 23rd to Saturday 25th May 2019 along the Coastal strip and offshores. It was expected to be above 40 mm in 24 hours along the south coast and off the coast on Thursday 23rd May 2019 and was projected to exceed 30 mm in 24 hours on Friday 24th May over the entire coastal strip.
In Kwale County, the hotspot areas include Lemba, Jogoo and Kiss Garage in Ukunda, Vumbu in Kinondo, Mwangwei in Pongwe Kikoneni, Lunga Lunga town, the River Umba Riparian, Kiwegu, and Vanga. The Red Cross conducted a joint assessment with the County Government Team for Vanga and Pongwe Kikoneni wards in Lunga Lunga Sub County on Friday 24th May. Several roads were cut off by the floods, with a case of Kiwegu Sub Location being marooned completely. The Sub Location has a population of 4,000 people who could not access health facilities since the nearest facility is 6 kilometers away, in Vanga Town. The sub location registered 16 sunk latrines and six collapsed houses. The water sources are mainly boreholes and shallow wells. However, with access challenges to water sources, the communities are now using pond water, which pose hygiene challenges.
Aside from the water challenge, the long rains season crops have been washed away in farms. This is likely to propel a food security challenge in August this year. In Vanga town, 108 households woke up on the dawn of Saturday 25th May to experience floodwater in their houses. Several shallow wells were overrun by water contaminated by raw sewage. To complicate the matters, the only road leading to Vanga was cut off at Jego Shopping center.
The Kenya Red Cross Society is planning to distribute water treatment chemicals, mosquito nets, and clothes on Friday 31st May 2019. The National Government through the Deputy County Commissioner, Lunga Lunga is expected to donate maize rations to the affected households whose main livelihood activity is fishing and small-scale trade. Fishing has been affected because there is a very low catch during heavy rains. Besides this, there is no access to the markets to sell fish because of the affected roads. The floods occasioned a health risk because the town relies on shallow wells for water for domestic use. This is further complicated by the breeding of mosquitoes, which may cause an upsurge in malaria cases. As a long-term solution, the residents of Vanga town suggested the construction of a modern drainage system that would control the flow of rainwater and reduce the effects of flash floods.