Kenya S Displaced Families Hope To Return Home Sooner

A partly destroyed mud house and kitchen, a ruined cowshed and washed away crops are what Moses Oduori, a resident of Budalang’i in Busia, western Kenya, found when he returned home on May 28 after staying in a camp for over three weeks due to floods.

He has since rebuilt the house and some of the structures as he looks forward to starting life afresh.

“I have repaired the house in particular but I am yet to complete the kitchen which was completely destroyed,” he said on Tuesday on phone, noting that the crops he had planted in April were all destroyed.

Oduori’s household is among tens of families in western Kenya, which had been displaced by floods following heavy rains in the last two months, but are now returning home as the deluge subsides.

The displaced are mainly residents living in areas on the Lake Basin, from Busia County on the south of western Kenya to Kisumu, Homa Bay and Migori in the north.

But as the optimistic residents return home, the threat of floods caused by rivers and the lake that straddles Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, still hangs over the east African nation as the effects of climate change manifest themselves.

The meteorological department has warned that Kenya would continue to receive high amount of rainfall in the coming months, with the Lake Victoria Basin being among the regions that might experience the deluge.

“Near-average to above-average rainfall is expected in June. It is, however, expected to be below average at the beginning and near to above average during the second half of the month,” said Stella Aura, the director of the meteorological department, in weather update seen Wednesday.

She noted that due to the deluge, cases of flooding are still likely to occur in low lying areas across the country as well as landslides and mudslides in hilly areas of western, central and the Rift Valley.

“This is particularly due to the fact that the soils are still saturated and the rivers and dams levels are still high,” she said, with the weather forecast pointing to a rapidly changing climatic pattern.

Kenya for many years has two rainfall seasons, the first which starts from March to May, and the second, October to December. In between, the east African nation has been experiencing dry weather.

But changing climate has altered this pattern, with the east African nation sometimes experiencing dry spell when people expect rains and rains when people expert dry spell.

It is this weather forecast that is worrying citizens who are trying to reconstruct their lives after the floods. In western Kenya, a majority of the flood victims were affected for the first time in five decades as the climate change effects ravage the east African nation.

“I don’t want to imagine that it is going to rain again heavily and the floods may recur and destroy the lives we are trying to rebuild. Waters in the rivers and the lakes are still high thus if it rains heavily as predicted in the coming months, we will be displaced again,” said Felix Onyango, a resident of Dunga in Kisumu, a lakeside town.

The area is among those which experienced floods when Lake Victoria had a backflow, with the floodwater still hindering business on beaches and displacing hundreds.

At least 285 people had been killed and 810,655 others had been affected by mudslides, landslides and floods caused by heavy rains in Kenya. Enditem


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