Kenya news

Tana Delta flood victims express fears over looming food crisis

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Residents of Tana Delta in Tana River County have raised concern over what they term as a looming food crisis in the area following the heavy downpour that destroyed crops.

According to the residents, the area has experienced a double flood tragedy since the end of last year.

Komora John Balesa aged 60 one of the victims from Sailoni village in Mwina location said he lost about Ksh 0.5 million after the watermelons he planted were all destroyed by floods.

He said floods have been a tragedy and affected the economy of farmers in their area as they normally destroy everything including crops and livestock.

“I am a farmer and last year in December when we were about to harvest floods destroyed the crops,” he said.

Balesa said together with other farmers they had incurred costs of planting, fertilizers, and pesticides but before the crops ripened everything was destroyed by floods.

The same tragedy hit again this year and has left them with nothing completely.

To him, after such a disaster farmers face challenges of getting seeds, fertilizers and pesticides and it’s difficult to get money for planting again.

Balesa said all five acres were destroyed and now when the water resides, they will need help to replant again as they have been left with nothing.

All farmers and pastoralists he said suffered seriously as they were unable to fund their children who are in secondary, colleges and universities.

“When I plant five acres of watermelon, I am sure of getting Ksh500,000 profit even if brokers come in but if the crops are swept away, it’s a big loss,” he said.

Currently, thousands of families are being housed tents with the Kenya Red Cross using boats to supply humanitarian aid to affected villages.

More than 10,000 families lost their homes and are currently sheltered at more than 888 camps, even as residents plead with the government to relocate them.

Nancy John a widow with five children from Maziwa village said she planted three acres of maize, cowpeas and all of them were swept away by floods.

“We appeal for help to get seeds, we also need relief food, tents, and household utensils as we lost everything,” he said.

Maxwel Guyo a student from Maziwa village lost crops worth over Ksh50,000 in December after the flooding and this year the disaster hit again.

Guyo who completed Form Four last year has not been able to go to college as he could not get school fees due to the losses incurred from the disaster.

“The floods have affected us, they destroyed our homes, and crops we urged the government to intervene and help us,” he said.

Kenya Red Cross Society Coast Regional Programs Coordinator Mohamed Rajab said Tanariver is one of the worst hit counties by the floods disaster with over 38,688 families affected

Rajab said over 10,578 families lost their houses which were swept away by floods and are living in camps.

“So far we have 88 camps in Tanariver County and over 10,000 families live in those camps,” said the programs coordinator.

Currently, he said nine people are missing and are yet to be found adding that they managed to rescue over 121 people.

Rajab said over 33,000 acres of farms have been destroyed by the floods which is a big loss to the farmers.

He said the prediction they have received is there will be another disaster of drought and the families will suffer yet another blow.

“As Kenya Red Cross Society, we appeal to well-wishers to intervene and help the affected families with drought-resistant crops to enable them to sustain themselves during the oncoming disaster of drought,” he said.

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