Western region leaders urged to unite and address Budalangi floods

Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa has urged leaders from Western Kenya to unite and come up with lasting solutions against the floods menace.

Speaking during a visit to flood victims in Bunyala on Sunday, Wamalwa said that the issue of floods has been a challenge in the area for several years and there is need for a permanent solution.

The CS also proposed the construction of three dams to hold water from Bungoma, Trans Nzoia and Kakamega Counties saying, “If we construct a dam at Tongaren area and Lugari, we will be able to hold the waters and solve the floods problem in Budalangi once and for all,” he said.

Wamalwa stated that floods is no longer an exclusive problem in Budalangi only, adding that over 4,000 people have been displaced in Kakamega and another 11,000 in Bungoma.

“We should therefore change our attitude and handle the problem as a regional issue and not a Budalangi issue,” he said, adding that locals should be ready to pave way for dam construction when called upon.

Wamalwa pointed out that an agreement for dyke construction was signed three years ago and the contractor is on site but some residents have refused to pave way for construction works to commence.

“In other areas, dams are being constructed, there is the Thwake dam in Ukambani, Thiba dam in Kirinyaga,” he said, adding that construction of a dam in Bunyala will not only control floods, but also double rice production within the local scheme.

He also noted that construction of Soin dam in Koru has been politicized exposing residents of Nyando to perennial floods.

The CS assured the local residents that all Governors from the region will work closely with the National Government to ensure that dams are constructed, while saying that Ksh 5 billion had already been set aside for construction of dykes.

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya said floods had claimed about 200 lives, noting that there is need for leaders to come up with a plan to ensure that Kenyans do not continue to die from floods.

“Initially there were plans to have dams in Kakamega but some people politicized the issue because it was then a problem of Budalangi only, but now a number of them are willing to pave way after feeling the effects,” he said, adding that this is a special opportunity to come up with a lasting solution to the problem.

He challenged leaders to change their ways of doing things, adding that they were elected to serve the citizens.

At the same time, the Governor urged the government to include the issue of floods in the post Covid- 19 Economic Recovery Plan.

“We should involve locusts, floods and coronavirus so that funds are mobilized to assist those who have been affected,” he said.

Oparanya argued that floods are a disruption of life and cannot be sustainable, adding that the Lake Region Economic Block (LBEB) will take the flood menace as a regional issue.

“We need to meet as leaders of LREB to plan the way forward,” he said, adding that County government should purchase parcels of land for the affected families to move in safer areas.

Busia Country Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri disclosed that the Government has donated 2600 bags of rice to the flood victims.

Kanyiri stated that more than 40,000 victims are camping in 73 centres including public schools, while others are staying with relatives.



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