Amnesty International Kenya Statement on Deadly Floods Affecting Most Parts of Kenya

Nairobi, 1 December 2023: Amnesty International Kenya urges the Government of Kenya to intensify multi-sectoral humanitarian efforts despite reduced rains in northeastern and southeastern counties. With over 136,035 displaced, 27,205 households and 120 dead, and the peak of the El Nino rains yet to come, National and County Government, international, civic, and business efforts need to increase food and shelter, evacuation, and emergency health efforts to the affected. 

“The Garissa County Government is overwhelmed and is only mapping the affected with little capacity to supply non-food or food supplies. Women and children are the worst affected and are on the verge of starvation. Essential roads have been destroyed, cutting off thousands from help,” says Amnesty Garissa Circle of Conscience Chairperson Abu Bakar Adenm. 

“The floods have displaced residents. Water levels rise daily in Tana River. More than 2,000 households have been affected and sought shelter in various primary and secondary schools. Many roads remain impassable, increasing risk to life and basic commodity costs. There are serious fears that Kengen may release water from their dams and cause further flooding. Something urgent needs to be done now,” says Amnesty Tana River Circle of Conscience member Dahir Abaloni. 

“In Wajir County, the floods have disproportionately affected vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities, orphans and single-headed households. The closure of the roads from Mandera and Garissa has increased costs of food stuffs. 1 kg of tomatoes is now kshs 450. There is a need for more humanitarian organisations to respond to this disaster. Both the county and national government must be held accountable for the way they have managed this disaster,” Amnesty Wajir Circle of Conscience member Fatuma Yussuf. 

“Amnesty International Kenya urges the Ad Hoc Cabinet Committee on Disaster Response and Flood Command Centre established this week to accelerate military and commercial airlifts of food rations to all affected areas. The food and fuel price hikes will not reduce without subsidised and reliable transport. Both county and national governments must give daily updates on those affected, funding disbursement and humanitarian services. Transparency rather than blaming either arm of government does not save lives. Nor does blaming victims for their deaths. We express our concern and solidarity with all our members and persons who are affected and currently at risk” says Amnesty International Kenya Executive Director Irungu Houghton. 

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  1. All who require emergency assistance should call the Government of Kenya National Disaster Operations Centre at 0202151053, Toll-free number 800721571 
  2. Four months after the Metrological Department predicted El Nino and three weeks after the El Nino floods disastrously hit Kenya, OCHA notes; 
  • 56% have had their food access severely disrupted by impassable roads and limited key commodities.  
  • 97% have reported an increase in prices for basic food items such as maize flour, wheat flour, rice, cooking oil, sugar, pasta/spaghetti, milk, and other dairy products. 
  • 50% have reported drinking from rivers, dams, reservoirs, and water pans are risking severe contamination of drinking water sources and escalating health risks. 
  • 66% household (66%) and community levels (71%), with reported concerns about waterborne diseases, including diarrhoea and cholera.  
  • 68% of households have relocated due to floods, and 91% lack access to health facilities and medical outreach.
  • 40% of all homes have flooded, and 57% of key access roads and bridges have been significantly damaged
  • More encouraging, 47% of communities are using hotlines and 53% of communities households took precautionary risks once they received early warnings 

Source: El Nino Flash Floods Rapid Needs Assessment – November 2023 

Image credit: Kenya Red Cross Society