The recent Kenya Meteorological rainfall forecast for the October-November-December season, clearly predicts there will be above normal rainfall at 55%, way above near normal precipitation at 35% occurrence of El-Nino in Turkana County.
Above-normal rainfall in Turkana is positively correlated to both flash and river floods in most areas across the entire county.
In this regard, the County Government of Turkana is leaving nothing to chance, as it finalizes a comprehensive contingency plan that will be useful for both the government and its partners in responding effectively to the effects of the El-Nino, predicted to occur in the 3rd to 4th week of October, 2023.
The Contingency Plan involves many sectoral preparedness plans put together for a comprehensive one for Turkana County.
On Water Services, Its Director, Paul Lotum, estimates that 216,050 people will be affected by flash floods on a moderate scale, and on an extreme flooding event, it will affect half of the population of people living in Turkana County.
And the cost for the emergency response, Director Water says, could get up to Ksh. 154M.
He said this while presenting his budget for the response during the preparation of the Contingency Plan at Lokichar, Turkana South.
Lotum and stakeholders used the occasion to raise an alert to the members of the general public, government agencies, and other WASH partners that “there is a high probability of flooding in Turkana along the Rivers Kerio, Turkwell and other flat and low lying areas. This could cause loss of lives for both people and livestock, displacements, and other economic losses. People should move to safe high grounds.
He further added that the floods will impact negatively on water supply infrastructure and rehabilitation. The water quality during the period is expected to deteriorate due to contaminants brought about by run-off.
The household water treatment options, Lotum said, need to be employed to curb waterborne diseases.
On livestock, which is the backbone of Turkana pastoralists, Director Bobby Ekadon and Dr. Erenius Lokadio representing the Department, predict 1.3 million shoats will be at risk of displacement and scarcity of feeds as a result of the El-Nino floods.
In addition to this, they reported that 0.67 million cattle, 3.1 million shoats, 0.3 million camels, and 0.2 million donkeys will be at risk of livestock diseases. Livestock markets and sale yards at Lodwar, Turkwell, and Lorugum might also be swept away during the El-Nino.
Director Ekadon said for their Department to effectively manage the emergency on livestock production and veterinary services during El-Nino, a budget of Ksh. 27M and another Ksh. 42M for the recovery process after the emergency will be satisfactory.
On Agriculture, the Director Aron Nanok, says the Department intends to utilize Ksh. 50M during the E-Nino, to carry out community awareness, land preparation of rain-fed areas, and procure cereals and horticultural seeds for planting. Rehabilitate and maintain irrigation infrastructure, grain stores, and other related post-harvest handling equipment.
He added that if El-Nino occurs, a population of about 30,000 farmers are at risk, 16-grain storage facilities and Irrigation infrastructure; intakes, canals, check boxes, rainwater harvesting bunds, 300-foot bridges leading to the farms, and value-addition processing equipment.
The six-day planning meeting on Participatory Scenario (PSP) and Multi-Hazard Contingency Planning meetings at Lokichar, Turkana South, was organized by NDMA, back-to-back and supported by USAID Nawiri.
The NDMA’s Early Warning Officer Stanley Biwott said is happy that the meeting to develop a County’s Contingency Plan was indeed successful.
The Plan will be instrumental to the government and the partners in responding timely to the El-Nino flash floods.
Biwott urged participants to attend the El-Nino Plan validation session scheduled for the next days in the course of the week.
The USAID Nawiri’s Social Safety Nets Officer, Leah Muron, said that is grateful that the six-day contingency planning meeting for Turkana County ended with the Contingency Plan in place.
“We as USAID Nawiri, are proud to have had good discussions and deliberations with the County Officials and NDMA to produce a comprehensive County Contingency Plan that will be used by government and partners to respond to the threats of El-Nino.” Muron said.
Going forward, she said, USAID Nawiri will partner with the government and other stakeholders to support in issuance of Sectorial Advisory to communities especially in areas that have been regarded as hotspots and in areas where USAID Nawiri works.
Other sectors that developed and finalized their plans were: Health and Sanitation, Education, Fisheries, Transport and Infrastructure, Kenya Meteorological Department, Peace and Security, and Environment and Climate Change.
Okita Bonface (Coordinator ASDSP), George Ndege (NDMA), Philip Natapar (Disaster Management), Francis Lokwar (Economic Planning), and Steve Juma (Assistant County Commissioner) spoke during the closing ceremony.