Lamu flood victims refuse to head to safe camp

A flooded village in neighboring Lamu county PHOTO: NATASHA NEMA.

Lamu, KENYA: Over 3000 flood victims in Lamu have refused to stay at an emergency camp formed at Nagele in Witu, Lamu west since last week.

The national government together with the Red Cross Lamu had set up the camp to provide temporary shelter and humanitarian assistance to flood victims in the region.

The camp was also to shelter those in vulnerable locations with a higher flooding risk until the situation subsides.

The Red Cross says some of the victims live in dangerous areas and risk the death of injuries in case the floods get worse.

Speaking in Lamu on Wednesday, Lamu county deputy county commissioner said not a single person had reported to the camp by Tuesday evening.

Rono said the flood victims had also refused to heed a government directive requiring them to vacate their homes to the safety of the Nagele camp until the situation normalizes.

He however said the county commissioner’s office had already dispatched a team comprising of chiefs and elders to plead with the victims so that they can move to safety and avoid any impending disasters.

Areas worst affected by floods in Lamu include Chalaluma, Moa, Dide Waride, Bultho and Matabore all in Witu division.

Others are Pangani, Jericho and Amkeni areas in Mpeketoni.

“It’s quite unfortunate that people seem not to understand that they lives are in grave danger as long as they continue to stay where they are considering the current flooding situation.Those villages are totally inaccessible and that’s why we wanted them here at Nagele camp so we can easily attend to them.We have however sent a team to convince them to move to camps,” said Rono.

Lamu Red Cross coordinator Kauthar Alwy said they are unable to attend effectively to the flood victims since they refused to report to the camp.

Alwy said the Red Cross had however commenced a registration exercise in order to ascertain the exact number of victims before they embark on dispatching the necessary aid.

She however says it would be a lot more effective if the victims would heed the directive and come to the camp at Nagele.

“We have adequate aid in terms of tents, drugs, nets and food but the only challenge is that we cant reach them from where they are in their villages and that’s why we formed the Nagele camp.Even apart from the aid,they risk their lives by staying there with the current situation,”said Alwy.

Thousands of people have either been displaced or directly affected by ongoing floods in parts of Lamu county more so following the bursting of the banks of Rivers Tana and Nyongoro.

Learning has also been greatly affected as schools remain submerged in floods while classrooms and other school amenities collapse due to the floods.

School children from terror-prone Basuba ward in Lamu East are unable to return to their learning centre at Arid Zone primary school in Mokowe and Kiunga after the April holidays due to floods that continue that continue to mar their villages.

The children all of whom are from the Boni minority community had to be transferred to the safer learning zones following increased insecurity caused by al Shabaab militants which resulted to the closure of all primary schools in Basuba since 2014.

The over 500 pupils now have to wait for interventions of until the floods come to end before they can finally safely venture back to their learning centers.

The learning centers in Mokowe and Kiunga had to be established four years ago to enable students from terror-prone areas to carry on with learning.