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Ruto’s action plan to tackle flood crisis

Cabinet Secretaries will spearhead disaster response and mitigation efforts across the country

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President William Ruto has outlined a raft of measures to avert further devastation by the ongoing heavy rains that have caused deadly flooding across the country.

In his address to the nation on Friday afternoon, the head of state said it was time to act swiftly and decisively to protect life and property.

To forestall imminent danger, President Ruto has directed the Ministry of Interior to enforce relocation notices issued to those living within riparian land and dams upon their expiry at 6:30 pm Friday.

He however assured that the evacuations will be done humanely by security agencies who have been directed to enlist the support of the National Youth Service and the National Government Administration Officers.

The government has mapped out 178 dams, and water reservoirs situated within public and private land in 33 counties.

“In Nairobi, settlements in riparian reserves have complicated the response efforts and compounded and aggravated the risks to human life and safety. The Ministry of Interior is hereby directed to enforce the relocation notices issued earlier upon their expiry at 6:30 pm today” he said.

County security committees have been mandated to determine on a case-by-case basis the radius that shall constitute the scope of the area subject to vacation or mandatory evacuation orders.

They will also continuously monitor other dams or water reservoirs across the country that may not be presenting a risk now but could do so in the event of further precipitation.

Ruto also announced other scaled-up interventions to tackle the crisis and support those affected by the heavy rains which have claimed over 200 lives and displaced thousands across the country.

His action plan includes a multi-agency approach bringing together government agencies,  county governments, security agencies, development partners and humanitarian organizations to mobilise adequate food and non-food supplies to support the affected persons.

Cabinet Secretaries will spearhead disaster response and mitigation efforts across the country.

“To this end, Ministries, Departments and Agencies have been directed to work closely with the National Disaster Operations Center and Security Agencies to ensure the whole of government approach to the management of the prevailing crisis” he said.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, through the National Cereals and Produce Board, is directed to make available food supplies in government stores to support this effort while Treasury is expected to avail adequate resources for the purchase and supply of food, medical and other non-food items.

The Kenya Defence Forces and the National Police Service are expected to deploy resources, personnel and equipment for carrying out coordinated public safety and risk mitigation operations.

Other ministries involved include Special Programs which has been directed to work with development partners and relevant humanitarian organisations to mobilise adequate food and non-food supplies to support the affected persons.

The Ministry of Health is directed to work with development partners, including the WHO, AMREF, Red Cross, UNHCR, WFP and other relevant humanitarian organisations to mobilise resources and logistical support to avail essential drugs and other medical supplies.

Cyclone Hidaya

President Ruto who cited the effects of climate change that must be confronted said Kenya may face the first-ever Cyclone Hidaya. He clarified that the measures are short-term.  

“For us to conclusively address such threats in the long-term we have to acknowledge and act to reverse the adverse effects of climate change” adding that he will soon unveil this year’s climate action agenda.

“This Cyclone, named Hidaya, that could hit anytime now is predicted to cause torrential rain, strong winds and powerful and dangerous waves, which could potentially disrupt marine activities in the Indian Ocean and settlements along the Kenyan coast,” he remarked.

As such, he directed the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry to immediately expedite the implementation of the ecosystem restoration programme and work with all Ministries, Departments, Agencies and other stakeholders.

He said the country had no choice but to prioritise environmental conservation efforts and implement aggressive reforestation and wetland restoration programmes.

”We are called upon once again to join hands in this critical juncture and support each other until this season passes, and afterwards, in all endeavours to secure a sustainable future for generations to come. Together, we will win the war against climate change and build a resilient nation” he stated.

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