Wednesday, 11 October 2023 09:15

COG BACKS COORDINATED MULTI-SECTORAL RESPONSE TO AVERT FLOODING EMERGENCIES DURING EL NINO

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The Council of Governors (CoG) has expressed confidence on the need for a coordinated multi-sectoral response to anticipated emergencies in flood prone areas as the country braces for above-average rainfall in the months of October, November, December, and January 2024.
The Kenya Meteorological Department issued a forecast anticipating El Nino rains in an update published in September 2023, adding that heavy rainfall could result in unprecedented damage, impacting lives and livelihoods throughout the nation.
CoG committed to a collaborative approach during a stakeholders' meeting chaired by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on 28th September 2023 at his Karen residence. The meeting attended by CoG Chairperson Anne Waiguru, Governor of Kirinyaga, assessed the country's preparedness to mitigate the effects of El Niño. The primary objective of the meeting was to formulate a comprehensive response strategy aimed at safeguarding the lives and livelihoods of Kenyan citizens.
In her remarks during the meeting, Waiguru noted that Counties have been coordinating a response mechanism in preparation for El Niño and so far, more than 23 have shared their contingency plans with CoG. The counties include Isiolo, Lamu, Nyamira, Kirinyaga, Marsabit West Pokot, Vihiga, Kakamega, Murang’a, Laikipia, Machakos, Kirinyaga, Kiambu, Nakuru and Homa Bay among others.
“Counties have done a quick estimation of the resources that will be required to deal with this matter and out of the 23 Counties, we already have an estimation of about Kshs. 8 billion, you can imagine that by the time others come, we will probably be at Kshs. 15 billion required to fund the preparedness and response activities,” Waiguru said.
In addition to financial preparations, County Governments have recommended urgent evacuation protocols for communities in high-risk areas, swift and resilient infrastructure restoration, robust disease prevention and control measures, and clearing of drainage systems, among other strategies.
Gachagua reaffirmed the commitment of the National Government to support County Governments in implementing necessary measures to minimize the impacts of El Nino. This is to ensure that the country does not experience a disastrous effect as observed in 1997 where over 1.5 million people were negatively affected.
“Discussions have already started with the National Treasury on preparedness in terms of resources from the contingency fund. We are also in talks with the Ministry to establish ways to unlock resources from World Bank and other partners to mitigate negative impact of the rains,” said the Deputy President.
Further, the Deputy President urged Counties with large urban areas, such as Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, and Nakuru, to prioritize the cleaning and unclogging of drainage networks. He highlighted the availability of the National Youth Service to assist Counties in this effort, including unclogging drainage systems and preparing artificial waterways like surface run-offs.
This high-level meeting came even as Counties held an Urban Disaster Displacement Capacity Assessment workshop in Mombasa on 26th September 2023 aimed at strengthening Counties’ capacity to mitigate risks brought about by disaster displacement for effective and sustainable preparedness, response and recovery measures.
The Karen meeting brought together key stakeholders including Cabinet Secretaries, CoG Vice Chairperson Ahmed Abdullahi, Governor of Wajir, and at least 15 County Governors, United Nations Resident Coordinator Stephen Jackson, Principal Secretaries, humanitarian organizations, officials from the national administration, local and international partners.
Participants resolved that frequent meetings of the Technical and Steering Committees as well as the County Disaster Management Committees be held to provide guidance to flood mitigation and response efforts.

 

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