North Eastern leaders in appeal for emergency aid

mandera floods

Flooding in Mandera County on November 20, 2023.

Photo credit: Ben Kitili | Nation Media Group

Leaders from North Eastern have appealed for urgent aid, saying that about two-thirds of the region is badly affected by the ongoing El Nino rains, with Wajir worst hit.

The roads leading to the northern parts of the country have been cut off by the ravaging floods, they said.

Addressing journalists at Wilson Airport in Nairobi while flagging off a consignment of drugs destined for Wajir County yesterday, Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi warned that the region is staring a humanitarian crisis.

“The situation is dire; the whole of Wajir, for instance, is immersed in water,” he said, revealing that four people have been killed by the floods in the county.

“All roads leading to Wajir have been cut off, and our people lack food and other basic needs,” he added.

Through the support of Bluebird Aviation, a Nairobi-based regional airline, Governor Abdullahi airlifted 24 tonnes of drugs to his county.

The drugs were purchased by the Wajir County Government from the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa), while Bluebird Aviation helped to airlift the consignment. Mr Abdullahi said health facilities were running out of medical supplies.

“Trucks carrying medicines that we purchased from Kemsa have been stuck for the last two weeks on the road. We have resorted to airlifting the drugs,” explained the governor.

The medicines in transit are 57 tonnes, with a further 67 tons in Kemsa warehouses, he said.

“Northern Kenya counties are at the receiving end of floods from Ethiopia and the Central region, hence the severe situation. Towns have been submerged,” Mr Abdullahi informed.

The roads affected by the heavy rains are Nairobi-Isiolo, Nairobi-Garissa, and Garissa-Wajir-Mandera.

Mr Abdullahi was accompanied by lawmakers from the region, including Wajir Senator Abass Sheikh, Wajir County Woman Rep Fatuma Jehow, Eldas MP Aden Keynan, his Tarbaj counterpart Hussein Barre and Wajir West’s Farah Yussuf Mohamed, among others.

The leaders accused the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) of “neglecting the region’s roads” and the national government of being lax in assisting the region to mitigate the devastating effects of El Nino.

“The road to the region is cut off at Modogashe, and therefore any attempt to send anything by the road will not be of use now. We request the national government to chip in and help the locals,” Dr Keynan appealed.

Before the onset of the rains, the Council of Governors (CoG) through its chair, Ms Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), had asked the national government for Sh15 billion to prepare for El Nino.

However, according to Mr Abdullahi, the funds have not been disbursed. He told journalists that the county is working with the Kenya Defence Forces to airlift food and other basic commodities, in partnership with the Kenya Red Cross.

The leaders from the region have warned that, if urgent action is not taken, waterborne diseases and hunger will soon ravage the locals. According to the Kenya Meteorological Department, the ongoing El Nino may last until January next year.