IDP camp housing over 300 people
It seems that no matter how hard we work trying to make a dent in the numbers of children on the streets of Kitale, there is always some nasty event lurking around the corner to boost them again. In 2019 those events were natural disasters in the rural areas close by. These included two incidences of flooding in the areas to the north of us. A few months ago, the Turkana region was impacted by serious floods. In recent weeks, there has been serious flooding caused by record rainfall levels,and deadly landslides in the West Pokot region. The epicentre of this tragedy is only 2 hours north of Kitale town. Over 60 people were killed and hundreds displaced by floodwaters and landslides that swept away entire houses, sent boulders crashing through school buildings, killed livestock and destroyed farms. One emergency camp is currently home to 300 people,some of whom have not only lost their homes and possessions, but have lost relatives and children. One lady lost 7 of her 8 children, one lost all 3 of her children.
We have visited this disaster zone - no easy feat as two of the bridges on the main roads were swept away by floodwaters. Aid efforts have been thus hampered. We sent in a truck of aid which we managed to source in local villages to get around the road problems and to keep costs low. We are sending in trauma counsellors. We have taken lists of children from those families worst affected and will be sponsoring as many as we can help in a safe boarding school. Two of the local schools remain ruined from landslides. While the government have to play their part rehousing these families or relocating them to safer areas, we will do what we can to ensure that children can access school and not be without a roof over their heads, a hot meal and feeling they have no option but to run away to town. In time, if such arrangements are not made, the children of flood victims will be the children we find on the streets of Kitale.
We ask you to spare a thought and a small contribution for these families at Christmas time. There are hundreds with nothing more than a plastic sheet over their heads and a blanket to call their own.
Landslide destroying school dormitory
Landslide burying a village
Flood damage to main road
Infrastructure damage hampers aid efforts