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Appeal for help as lobby groups, youth lead rescue in Mathare

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Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) staff distributing foodstuffs to flood victims in Matahre on Thursday, April 25, 2024.
Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) staff distributing foodstuffs to flood victims in Matahre on Thursday, April 25, 2024.

The flood disaster that hit Mathare on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning has brought to light the togetherness of the residents living in the informal settlements.

Many of the residents living along Mathare River were displaced on Tuesday night prompting neighbours to help.

“We have never seen a disaster of this nature in this part of Mathare. People had to climb the rooftops of their houses after flash waters marooned their houses.

“We rescued 86 people, among them young children. We thank God we were able to save them,” David Ojiem, youth leader, said.

More than 1000 houses were destroyed and … said they pulled out 10 bodies from the raging waters.

“Several houses along the river bank were destroyed, leaving several families homeless. We estimate that in Mathare, up to 1000 people have lost their houses,” he said.

On Wednesday and Thursday, local grassroots organisations led by Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) distributed foodstuffs, bedding, and clothes and helped move affected residents to safer places.

“We want to thank SHOFCO for coordinating the rescue and recovery mission in this area. The organisation help bring the youth together to lead in the recovery mission.

“Together with other organisations and CBOs, SHOFCO also delivered foodstuffs to the affected families,” Ojiem added.

The flood victims are appealing to the national and county governments to help them.

“We need clothes, sanitary towels, foodstuffs and any other essential items that people use. Our people are in dire need at the moment and we appeal to well-wishers to come to our rescue. We can be reached on 0720256129,” Elizabeth Okumu, Shofco Urban Network Nairobi County Chairperson, said.

Elizabeth thanked community-based organisations who have helped the flood victims, saying most of them lost their belongings.

“Twaweza CBO is hosting our people at Happy Star Academy and we are grateful for that. We also want to thank Mathare

Vocational Training Centre for providing our people with a place to stay as the rains continue,” Elizabeth added.

Nelson Nzioka, a resident of the Mabatini area in Mathare, said he lost all his belongings to the raging waters.

“I want to thank everyone who has come to help us. My house was swept away and I was not able to the moment,” Nzioka said.

SHOFCO Nairobi County Coordinator Joab Oluoch said the youth did a commendable job of averting the flood disaster that would otherwise claim the lives of many people.

“Our youth did great work and I want to appreciate them. We know that the victims are traumatized and some need medication attention.

“Our community health promoters are helping them and we have taken some of them to our SHOFCO Mathare Clinic to be treated,” Oluoch said.

According to the Nairobi county governor’s office, an estimated 60,000 people, mostly women and children, have been “severely affected” by the floods.

The Kenya Meteorological Department warned that “heavy to very heavy” rainfall was forecast in various parts of the country until May.

Some 40 people have been killed due to the floods.

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