El-Nino billions down the drain? Questions after heavy rains threat scaled down to short rains

El-Nino billions down the drain? Questions after heavy rains threat scaled down to short rains

County Governors during El Nino Preparedness and Response meeting with Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua at his official residence in Karen. PHOTO| COURTESY

Just about 24 hours after President William Ruto announced that the country will not experience the much anticipated El Nino rains as announced by the Kenya Meteorological Department, questions now loom on what would happen to the funds set aside to mitigate the disaster.

In a stakeholders meeting chaired by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on September 28, the government estimated that it required about Ksh. 10 billion to manage the effects of El Nino, especially in Arid and Semi-Arid land (ASAL) areas.

Subsequently, counties started making plans to cushion their citizens from being affected by the downpour, especially those residing in flood-prone areas.

The Nairobi County government announced a plan to procure motor boats, inflatable water rafts, and boats to mitigate potential flood-related disasters.

They also hired 3,500 youth to assist in cleaning the city including unclogging and cleaning drainages and collecting garbage.

Homa Bay County said that they were collaborating with organizations such as the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), which has provided emergency kits, and the Kenya Red Cross, responsible for leading evacuation and emergency response operations.

Elsewhere, Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir assured residents that blocked sewer lines and drainage were being addressed, and evacuation plans for those likely to be affected by floods are in the works. Low-lying areas and informal settlements, such as slums, are receiving special attention.

In  Murang'a County, residents in landslide-prone areas were been urged to remain vigilant for any signs of danger.

Mathioya MP Edwin Mugo was also seeking funding to assist disaster victims and has committed to using Constituency Development Fund (CDF) resources to deploy gabions in vulnerable areas to mitigate landslide impacts.

In Kajiado, Director of Meteorological Services Jane Nyagathirii urged residents to take tree planting seriously as a means to protect their soil and reduce the impact of the rains. She also called for mass education on how to manage livestock during heavy rains.

In Kisumu, Maurice Oricho, Director of Disaster Management, called for a multisectoral approach to disaster preparedness. 

Their neighbours in Siaya County formed a team to monitor the expected rains and identify hotspot areas vulnerable to floods.

The county identified the bridges at Goye, Bondo, Canabolo, and Aram Markets as potential hotspots. Governor James Orengo and County Commissioner Jin Njoka have asked all stakeholders to contribute to the county's emergency fund because the county cannot bear the cost of disaster damage on its own.

Now with President Ruto's revelation that the weatherman has instead scaled down the heavy downpour alert to short rains, the government bears the task of ironing out the conundrum.

So far, Belgut MP Nelson Koech has claimed that parliament will be conducting oversight on the use of the money distributed.

In his view, MP Koech said that parliament will ensure that the funds are put to good use.

"It is important to make sure that there was prudent use of those resources because I know there were people who were itching to tap on that money. We as MPs are going to oversight to make sure that any money," he said speaking to Citizen TV's on Monday.


Citizen TV Citizen Digital President Ruto El Nino

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