Residents of Tana River County have been put on high alert following reports that the Kenya Electricity Generation Company (KenGen) intends to gradually release excess water from the Seven Folk Dams.
Tana River County Commissioner Oning’oi ole Sosio and the County Red Cross Society Manager, Mr. Jared Bombe have urged people still staying in low lands to immediately move to higher grounds to avoid being marooned.
Speaking to the Kenya News Agency in telephone interviews, the two officials said the dams were currently full following heavy rains in the Mount Kenya and Aberdare regions.
Mr. Sosio said that KenGen would gradually release the water, starting with Kiambere Dam and warned that the water volumes in River Tana, which are already high, will rise and possibly lead to more floods, especially in the Tana Delta region.
Mr. Sosio instructed Assistant County Commissioners to instruct chiefs and their assistants under their jurisdictions to advise people living along the river Tana to move to higher grounds.
All Assistant Commissioners are under instructions to press upon their chiefs and assistant chiefs to tell their people to move to higher grounds immediately, Mr. Sosio said.
The opening of the dam’s flood gates could worsen an already sorry state of affairs along the river Tana, which burst its banks last week and poured water into villages and farms.
Thousands of people have been affected by the floods, with many still being marooned, as rescue missions led by the Kenya Red Cross Society and the Department of Special Programmes in the County Government of Tana River.
This is a crisis in waiting as the water level in the river are going to rise beyond what we have seen so far, it is going to be much worse than what we are currently experiencing, he said.
At least 24,000 people have been displaced by the water with more than 1,000 still being marooned, according to Mr. Bombe.
He said the rescue teams were using very limited resources to evacuate people in vast areas, estimating the area covered by water at 70%.
The Tana River County Government acquired a new speed boat which the team has been using alongside boats from the Red Cross and the Catholic Relief Services to evacuate the flood victims.
A tour of some of the affected areas over the weekend revealed that thousands of acres of farmland under crops at various maturity statuses were under water, signalling imminent famine.
Source: Kenya News Agency