Some of the more than 250 families in Bunyala, Busia County in their makeshift dwellings. PHOTO/KNA
By Kenya News Agency (KNA)
More than 250 families in Bunyala, Busia County who were displaced by floods in 2020, are still living in internally displaced peoples’ camps for fear of their safety amid the start of the rainy season, and now want the government to take urgent intervention measures.
The families have decried the high cost of living in the camps as they were hampered by floods over three years ago and now they rely on humanitarian interventions from non-governmental organizations’ (NGO) and the government, which does not sustain them for long.
Speaking at Budalangi Primary School during the visit by Busia Women Representative Ms. Catherin Omanyo to offer bursaries to teenage mothers and less privileged in the county under NGAF, the affected families now want the government to prioritize construction of dams in Budalangi to address perennial floods.
Led by Bunyala floods victim Mr Godfrey Wanjala, they urged the county and national government disaster committee to avoid playing mind games during floods by providing affected families measures amounting to painkillers to flood problems instead of finding a lasting solution.
“We only feel the presence of the government when the situation is worse, we are tired of blankets and relief food, we need a permanent solution,” Mr Wanjala said. “We moved here three years ago and it appears that we have been completely forgotten,” he added.
His sentiments were echoed by the Ms Omanyo who asked the government to consider constructing affordable housing in Budalangi to save the families who are struggling with hard economic times in camps for the past two years.
“In Kenya, the right to housing is embedded in the constitution, which provides that every person has the right to accessible and adequate housing, and to reasonable standards of sanitation,” Ms Omanyo noted.
The lawmaker added that little attention has been given to producing affordable housing to the poor segments of the population, who form the bulk of Kenyan society at 57 percent of the population.
“In Busia, affordable housing should be constructed in Budalangi. This will save the government billions used in disaster management yearly and also will boost the economy of this area through job creation and open up investment avenues,” she added.
The worst hit were families from Bunyala South location and Rukala Location. Musoma primary school and Mau market, who had started recovering from havoc are most likely to be overrun by floods once again.
Flood victims camps where over 250 families call home include Membee, Bunyala, Budala, Rukala, Khadundu, Igigo and Runyu.
Most families here depend 90 percent on fishing and sand harvesting, the job that has given them more life risks and challenges they face from the lake including harassment from Uganda policemen in the lake.