Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Some rain can stop a drought, too much can cause a mudslide

Yesterday we learned that the rain came back to Kenya to quench the country of it's drought. The rains might be coming too fast and hard, as we now see warnings of flooding and mudslides. Action Aid along with Kenya's Emergency Sector Response Plan say flooding could displace 100,000 people.

From this press release that we found at Reuters Alert net, we read more about the warning.

Thousands will be left homeless as floods in Kenya are predicted to follow the country’s worst-ever drought.

The rains have failed in Kenya since 2007 resulting in a prolonged drought with over 10 million people in need of food aid, according to the UN.

The heavy rains in Kenya have started falling and are expected to lead to flooding in different parts of the country, trigger landslides, and make access to some areas impossible. According to scenarios developed in Kenya’s Emergency Sector Response Plan, developed by the government in collaboration with UN and NGOs, the floods will displace 100,000 people and directly affect 1,000,000 people.

Urgent need

There will be urgent need of supplies such as food, shelter and clean water. Above normal rains will bring a sharp increase in child diseases, in particular respiratory infections and diarrhoea. Heavy rains could hurt pastoral livelihoods, especially through increased livestock deaths caused by sudden changes in temperature and grazing conditions. Urban slum areas risk being affected by flash flooding.

As further heavy rains are expected, ActionAid is also preparing for more severe flooding across a wider area by providing humanitarian assistance to those displaced by the floods, as well as those people who have no access to safe water and sanitation services because of the floods.

The effects of conflicts, droughts and floods continue to undermine communities, weakening their ability to cope, and putting lives and livelihoods at risk.

ActionAid's response

ActionAid Kenya Country Director Jean Kamau said: “We used to have regular droughts every 10 years or so. In the 1970s we started having droughts every seven years; in the 1980s they came about every five years and in the 1990s we were getting droughts every two or three years. Since 2000 we have had three major droughts and several dry spells. Now they are coming almost every year.”

She continued, “ActionAid is distributing food in two areas of Isiolo and Mwingi in the Eastern Province under the World Food Programme, where 258,000 people receive food monthly.”

ActionAid is also carrying out activities in Sericho in the North East by providing water to 6,000 drought stricken people, buying animals and providing the meat as relief and providing supplementary food for 2,000 children in the worst affected areas in the Rift Valley and Coast.

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