Floods: Where are the local disaster management bodies?


Floods: Where are the local disaster management bodies?
Floods have wrecked havoc in many parts of Kenya. Photo/File

By Victor Bwire

The Kenya Meteorological Department started sounding an alert that some parts of the country will get more than normal rains or experience some unusual weather conditions early this year.

For several years, year in and year out, whenever there is rain, the country goes through the ravages of floods- which if well managed could be a major player in the big four agenda – food security.

It’s wrong for the country at one time to be losing such huge amounts of water, while at the same time is unable to provide safe drinking and cooking water to the citizens in addition to blaming low water levels for the high electricity bills or blackouts in the country.

It’s unfortunate that Kenyans continue losing property and lives because of floods, when there are lessons to be learnt from Budalang’i which for years now has been spared of floods.

What can other parts of the country learn? What happened to the rain water harvesting technologies, and have companies such the Kenya Power lost innovativeness?

The country has been working and even created a disaster preparedness plan, as a result of the 1997 El Niño condition, which has involved both the national and county governments develop mitigation plans deal with the anticipated unusual weather conditions.

With an elaborate Disaster Risk Reduction Legal, Institutional and Coordination Framework in the country, why are floods and other disasters still ravaging Kenyans?

The structure and framework of disaster management bodies in Kenya indicate that the country has made disaster risk reduction a national and local priority with strong institutional framework through citing various legal and policy documents: The Constitution, Acts of parliament, Legislation and Presidential decrees and gazette.

Consequently, a number of institutions were created: Ministry of state for Special Programmes (Now a directorate under Ministry of Devolution and Planning), the National Disaster Operation Centre (NDOC) – under Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, National Disaster Management Unit (NDMU) – National Police Service/ Under Interior, National Draught Management Authority (NDMA) – under Ministry of Devolution and Planning and the appointment  of  Disaster  Risk  Reduction  focal points  in all  the line  Ministries by Chief Of  Staff  and  Head  of  Public Service.

What are these bodies doing and are there resourced well to deal with the situation? Is it in fighting and protection of turf by the agencies tasked with leading the country’s disaster preparedness war that is costing us this much?

What happened to implementation plan rolled out by the National Disaster Operation Centre (NDOC) and the Task Force set up by the government ?

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