Nairobi — Leaders from Wajir County have made an urgent appeal to the national government to release emergency funds to address the severe impact of the ongoing El Nino rains.
Describing the situation as dire, the politicians highlighted that the heavy downpour had resulted in the loss of at least four lives, stranded numerous individuals, and displaced thousands from their homes.
Governor Ahmed Abdullahi, leading the plea, cautioned that unless the national government promptly releases the funds allocated in the supplementary budget to alleviate the effects of the El Nino rains, the situation is poised to escalate.
“In our efforts, as county government, we attempted to use helicopters to relocate those trapped by rising waters to safer areas. However, the intensity of the rainfall and the soil’s inability to absorb it have overwhelmed us. Unless we get more logistical support, we fear more lives will be lost,” said Governor Abdullahi.
Abdullahi stressed the need for immediate state intervention, urging the provision of logistical support to evacuate stranded residents to prevent waterborne diseases and avoid further casualties.
“We are now faced with a situation where the livestock which is our main livelihood is getting trapped in the mud. It’s heartening to see someone just leave their livestock stuck in the mud and do nothing about it,” he said.
Adan Keynan, the MP for Eldas, expressed concern that if the El Nino rains persist for another month, the road network in the county will be entirely severed.
He lamented the impact of the floods at Modugashe, specifically on the road linking Wajir and Mandera Counties from Garissa County, hindering the transportation of goods and services.
Keynan further urged the government to deploy Kenya Air Force planes to deliver essential supplies such as food and medicine to meet the needs of the affected population.
“We are appealing to the government to come out properly organized and assist the residents of Wajir, Mandera, and Garissa counties in complimenting the county governments by invoking the emergency measures that will avert further loss of lives,” said Keynan.
Wajir Senator Abass Sheikh expressed bewilderment at the government’s focus on addressing heavy rain impacts in places like Mombasa City while seemingly neglecting the northern regions of the country.
“We need to be told the truth if northern Kenya is not part of this country because if we don’t salvage the situation now which is getting out of hand, there is no food and soon or later there will be an outbreak of diseases and we may lose more lives,” said Senator Sheikh.
The Senator urged President William Ruto to declare the ongoing El Nino rains a national disaster to mobilize the necessary support and resources for effective mitigation.
He expressed concerns that even though drugs were being transported by Blue Bird Aviation from Wilson Airport to Wajir, they might not reach the grassroots due to impassable roads.
The airline is offering free transport and is set to airlift food supplies purchased by the county for local residents.
The Woman Representative, Fatuma Jehow Abdi, highlighted the communication shutdown in the county due to a shortage of fuel caused by transportation issues.
She warned that without fuel for electricity transformers, the entire county would face darkness.
The leaders made the remarks as they oversaw the flagging off of 24 tonnes of medicine purchased by the county government from Kemsa.
Other leaders present included MPs Hussein Barre of Tarbaj, Adan Daud of Wajir East, and Yusuf Farah of Wajir West.