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PRESS RELEASE - Escalating Humanitarian Crisis Amid Rising Floods in the ASAL Region Featured

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Escalating Humanitarian Crisis Amid Rising Floods in the ASAL Region 

Joint media statement by the ASAL Humanitarian Network (AHN)



Nairobi, May 10th 2024 - Kenya is currently experiencing heavy rainfall and subsequent floods and the ASAL region is adversely affected with thousands of households displaced and livelihoods lost. The heavy rainfall has further caused massive destruction of property and critical infrastructure (road, bridges, schools, health centers and sanitation facilities), extensive displacement of populations, high risk of water-borne diseases, destruction of farmlands and death of livestock. 

The UN-OCHA Flash update #4 of May 3rd 2024 reported that torrential rains and flash floods around most parts of the country, continue to cause havoc with approximately 210 people dead, 164 injured and 72 people missing . Reports by the Kenya Red Cross on May 4th reported that 29,351 Households displaced, 54,449 households affected at least 8749 livestock have been lost and 36,344 acres of croplands damaged. 

The ongoing rainfall has caused extensive destruction to essential infrastructures such as roads, bridges, schools and heath centers. Furthermore, the Kenya Highways Authority (KenHA) has alerted about roads and closed off others, some of which were washed out during the last November/December 2023 El Niño rains. Despite efforts to pave and undertake corrective action over the past three months, the cyclical nature of road cut-offs presents ongoing challenges.

Forecast from The Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) predicts continued heavy rainfall in the central highlands region posing more risk to area in the lower regions. The expected heavy rainfall is likely to be accompanied by strong winds, thunder, and lightning

The impact of the floods in the ASAL counties of Kenya has been severe, negatively affecting households in these areas by;

The widespread displacement of households especially those living along river banks in Tanariver, Garissa, Marsabit and Isiolo counties. This displaced households have lost their property, farmlands and sources of livelihood putting them at risk of poverty. 

Damaged homes and property in Boji village Maikona area in Marsabit - Photo PACIDA 

Increased incidence of water-borne and vector borne diseases. The Ministry of Health reports indicate that 34 cases of cholera have been reported in Garsen subcounty (Garsen West ward 32 and Garsen Central Ward 2). This is attributed to the destruction of sanitation facilities (latrines), the contamination of water sources.

Increased food insecurity and compromised household purchasing power due to the reduced access to nutritious and adequate food; to damage to farmlands and harvested food and the rising cost of food supplies

Damaged crops in farms along River Tana. Photo - ALDEF

The local economy and markets have been disrupted from the destruction of crops and farmlands, flooding and destruction of stored food supplies. There is concern over food and basic items price inflation due to these market dynamics and the challenge of accessing essential goods. 

Consequently, there is a heightened risk of neglect for vulnerable populations ( the elderly, the sickly, children under five, chronically ill individuals, persons with disabilities (PWDs), and people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs pregnant and lactating mothers) during flooding events.  A surge in sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) cases further compound these challenges, with the differentiated needs of all genders often unmet.

"The impact of the floods in ASAL counties have been further exacerbated by the two-year severe drought and the recent floods in late 2023 that the region has recently experienced. More than 4.4 million people who had been affected by acute food insecurity and poverty had not yet recovered with those affected by the 2023 floods some still in the IDP camps",   

says Ahmed Ibrahim, the AHN Convenor

In light of the unfolding crisis, the ASAL Humanitarian Network, an advocacy platform of 30 local and national NGOs operating in ten ASAL counties of Kenya appeals to the county and national government to take urgent action through:

1) Release available disaster management funding to scale up the floods response efforts to assist affected and displaced households. Government agencies, county departments, international and local humanitarian partners to urgently scale up assistance with priority given to Multipurpose cash and voucher assistance for immediate response and the most urgent humanitarian needs of food, shelter, Non-Food Items, WASH services and facilities to relocate the affected households

2) Focus on the needs of vulnerable populations in the affected areas including the elderly, People Living with Disabilities (PWD), pregnant and lactating mothers, women and young girls who are at greater risk and are disproportionately affected by the adverse effects of any disaster and displacement

3) Closely collaborate with the local humanitarian CSOs in ASAL counties already implementing responses in their localized sites. Support  of locally led responses and scaled support to strengthen the flood responses that will sustain and reinforce existing local action of these frontline responders.

4) Preservation of lives and livelihoods. National and county governments of affected counties, as well as disaster management and humanitarian agencies should take all necessary measures to preserve lives and livelihoods. 

5) Facilitating effective communication and information dissemination to the at-risk populations with messages on flood safety and health saving information via multiple media channels – Public Address Systems, Local radio, Social media and Community Health workers

6) Operationalize hub disaster operation centers with specialist teams for search and rescue, call in toll lines, 24/7 operationally, deployment of logistical support includes boats. 




Notes for Editors 

The ASAL Humanitarian Network: is a 30 members platform led by local and national NGOs operational in the 10 most drought crisis vulnerable ASAL counties promoting a humanitarian system that enables timelier and more appropriate coordinated locally-led responses to affected people.

AHN website - www.asalnetwork.org  Facebook – ASAL Humanitarian Network Twitter - @KenyaAsal LinkedIn – ASAL Humanitarian Network AHN newsletter

Reports by the Kenya Red Cross on May 4th reported that 29,351 Households displaced, 54,449 households affected at least 8749 livestock have been lost and 36,344 acres of croplands damaged.

A summary of the National Disaster Operations Centre (NDOC) cumulative data from 01st March 2024 to 07 May 2024 reported: 257 deaths, 188 injured, 75 missing. 

Additional data from the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) on 2nd May indicates that at least 8,565 livestock have been lost, 36,344 acres of croplands and 46 roads damaged, 608 small businesses, 39 schools  and 13 health facilities have also been affected. 


Contact Information 

Ahmed Ibrahim, AHN Convenor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sarah Ndonye, AHN Advocacy and Communications lead - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 



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