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Residents of Usonga Ward in Siaya County are now appealing to the national government for assistance after floods invaded their homesteads in Uhembo village of Usonga Ward, Siaya sub-County.

Barely a week after a high-powered delegation from the Siaya County Government Disaster Management Committee paid a situational assessment visit to Usonga Ward, Siaya County, villagers in Uhembo are asking for help from flooding.

The seasonal Huiro Swamp burst its banks Thursday morning forcing residents to self-evacuate to higher grounds. An angry villager who declined to give his name fearing victimisation by the local Assistant Chief said there was no need waiting for anyone to assist them.

“Every year we face similar problems whenever there’s heavy rainfall in this parts of the country. Government officials always appear and take photos, make promises then disappear to be seen when the rain circle starts all over again.”

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He said that the disaster preparedness strategies of the present county government are no different from the previous one. “All they do is parade the big four-wheel drive vehicles as if they are showing off. Now all our maize is under water and we have to go begging. Look!”, he pointed at floating household utensils.

The Delegation which visited the area last week included Representatives from the Kenya Red Cross, Meteorological Department, County Emergency Response Unit, County Disaster Management Unit and Office of the County Commissioner. They toured Mahero Primary School, Sidundo, and Siriwo among other possible evacuation sites.

Chief Officer Governance and ICT Mr. Walter Okello promised that the team was properly equipped to undertake serious mitigation measures towards flooding.

“We intend to engage the community on disaster preparedness and mitigation strategies such as early warning signs awareness, the need to unclog culverts, opening of drainage systems, clearing of bushes to deter the breeding of mosquitoes and other factors that might prejudice the safety of residents due to the predicted heavy rainfall,” said Mr Okello.

Now the villagers are calling the team’s visit a public relations exercise with no meaning for the residents of Usonga.

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