• Cynthia Meru | National Communications Officer, IOM Kenya

Kenya“Rain has never displaced us. Not even El Niño in 1997. Water levels have never been this high. Now we have no houses, no toilets, and no food. Important documents, such our ID cards, academic certificates and car logbooks, have all been washed away”.

These are the words of Mohamud Omar, community leader and Chairman of Bula Kamor Area, Garissa, which is one of the areas worst affected by floods that have devastated many parts of Kenya.

More than 300 people have died and over 400,000 people have been displaced since the flooding started in March, according to the National Disaster Operations Centre (NDOC) under Kenya’s Ministry of Interior and National Administration. Thousands of homes have been destroyed and major infrastructure including roads and bridges have been severely damaged.

Nearly 5000 livestock deaths have been reported, and close to30,000 acres of farmland destroyed. This is a situation that the Kenya Meteorological Department has warned may worsen, as rains and flooding are likely to continue until July 2024.

IOM Kenya distribution of essential items such as blankets, buckets, tarpaulin tents and other non-food items in Nairobi ©Grace Kae/IOM Kenya 2024

Those newly displaced persons, migrants, and refugees need shelter or are fighting to keep what is left of their destroyed homes and land.

Prior to the destructive March-April-May rains, many parts of the country, in particular, the arid and semi-arid lands experienced one of the worst drought that saw more than 256,000 people displaced. The already vulnerable people have been displaced multiple times, their faces etched with the anguish and frustration of having in some instances lost everything, doubled with being unable to call any place home.

In the camps where many of the displaced are now residing, there is an increased risk of disease outbreaks, including cholera, according to Kenya’s Ministry of Health. The flooding has overwhelmed drainage systems and contaminated water sources, according to the National Disaster Management Unit.

IOM Kenya Senior Coordinator Recovery and Resilience and Kenya Red Cross Emergency Response Manager assess the levels of destruction by floods in Tana River County. © Eva Sibanda/IOM Kenya 2024

IOM Kenya is supporting ongoing efforts by the Government of Kenya and other partners to respond to the needs of the affected. IOM Kenya is planning to reach 157,000 affected people, some 40% of the 400,000+ likely to be affected, according to National Disaster Management Unit.

So far IOM has reached over 67,000 people with Shelter and Non-Food Items (SNFIs), Multi-Purpose Cash Assistance (MPCA), Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH). Health Services and Risk Communication and Community Engagement, and Common Services including Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), which gathers and analyzes data to disseminate critical multi layered information on the mobility, vulnerabilities, and needs of displaced and mobile populations that enables decision makers and responders to provide these populations with better context specific assistance.

IOM Kenya is also distributing essential supplies such as NFI (shelter)- tarpaulin, blankets, mosquito nets, kitchen set, sleeping mats. NFI (hygiene)- jerrycan, bucket, and water purifiers in anticipation of the long rainy season.  But the available relief supplies are inadequate for the scale of the crisis. More than USD 5.5 million is needed to support those in need.

For more information, please contact Cynthia Meru, IOM Kenya Communications Officer