Caritas Kenya Floods Update 2. May, 11th 2018


Since the onset of the March-May long rains, Kenya has continued to experience flash floods as a result of heavy downpour in many parts of the country.  Flash floods have been reported in many parts of the country with 13 counties being the most affected. Several Dioceses/Counties have been affected, with Tana River, Garissa, Kisumu, Mandera, Wajir, Kilifi, Isiolo, Samburu, Baringo, Kajiado and Turkana being among the worst hit.

According to OCHA Flash update #5 of 10th May 2018, an estimated 311,164 people (51,861 households) have been displaced by the ongoing floods with 132 lives lost and a further 33 people have been injured. These figures are expected to increase based on projections of continued rainfall in flood-prone areas. This comes after a dam in Nakuru burst its banks on 9 May, killing at least 48 people and over 5,000 displaced. 

According to the Kenya Inter-Agency Rapid Assessment (KIRA) completed on 18 April, Tana River was the worst affected-county with 117 villages being affected: 53 in Tana Delta; 16 in Tana North; and 38 in Tana River Sub County. Out of 12,809 directly affected households covered by the KIRA, 11,950 are staying in camps or open areas, while 859 have sought shelter with host families and communities. Since the report, displacement in Tana River increased further. Heavy rains continue to cause significant damage to infrastructures in flood-affected areas, including destruction of properties. The government has reported that roads have been cut-off in 9 counties (Tana River, Garissa, Kisumu, Mandera, Wajir, Isiolo, Marsabit, Nakuru and Turkana).

Schools in several counties have been closed indefinitely as some school buildings have been submerged. According to OCHA Flash update #4 of 9th May 2018, more than 280 schools have been affected or damaged by flooding, including in Tana River (71), Kisumu (68), Garissa (48), Wajir (42), Siaya (22), Homabay (15), Migori (13), Nyamira (5), Isiolo (3), Mandera (3) and Kisii (3) counties. Active cholera outbreaks have been reported in Garissa, Turkana, Meru, West Pokot, Isiolo, and Nairobi, and there is a risk of further spread or new outbreaks in flood-affected areas. There are growing concerns regarding school children being potentially exposed to water borne diseases due to contamination of water sources, including due to overflowing sewers near urban schools.

Affected Areas

In collaboration with Dioceses, Caritas Kenya continues to assess the on-going floods in the country and especially the most affected areas. Several Dioceses/Counties have been affected, with Tana River, Garissa, Kisumu, Mandera, Wajir, Kilifi, Isiolo, Samburu, Baringo, Kajiado and Turkana being among the worst hit.

Infrastructures have been affected with major road networks, power and communication lines being cut-off causing major transport and communications challenges. Many homes and crops have also been destroyed. Livelihoods continue to be impacted by the floods. In Tana River, the KIRA found that 8,540 acres of crops have been destroyed, while major markets and towns have been cut off. In Moyale, the KIRA found that the main sources of livelihoods – selling firewood, milk and livestock - have been affected.

The table below shows the number of people displaced in the most affected counties:



Tana River




















Diocesan Reports

Following heavy rains, the banks of rivers Sabaki and Tana in Malindi Diocese have burst leading to flush floods in some areas in different Counties in the Diocese. Generally, Magarini Sub County in Kilifi County and some regions in Garsen and Wema in Tana River County have been affected. Mikuyuni Ward residents were left counting losses after the Galana River broke its banks and swept away their farms, crops and some of houses. The Parishes in these areas have helped in offering shelter to a few affected individuals as well as giving food stuffs. However, due to lack of funds the Diocese cannot reach out to many of the affected people. Other affected areas include: Kavunyalalo and Paziani, Madunguni, Kiziwani, Masindeni, Baricho, Bodoma Dagamra and Bate.


Areas experiencing heavy flooding in Malindi. 

Kisumu Archdiocese has equally been severely affected. There has been heavy downpour in Kisumu and Siaya Counties and the surrounding Cherengani, Kericho and Kisii highlands leading to heavy flooding downstream of river Nyando which drains into Lake Victoria. The situation has really affected the livelihoods of the communities. The low grounds of the Archdiocese are really affected. 6,200 persons have been displaced and are currently camping at nearby schools, churches, and social halls in the sub-county of Ahero.

Ombaka-Kakola, Kisumu (Standard Newspaper) St. Cecilia primary school Nyando, Kisumu county. (Standard Newspaper)

Nakuru Diocese. On Wednesday 9th May 2018, over 40 people were swept to their deaths and many more were missing after a dam burst its walls in the Solai area of Nakuru following heavy rains. It is estimated that more than 2,000 people were rendered homeless within a three-kilometre radius. Approximately 500 houses are said to have been destroyed, stretching up to the expansive Nyakinyua farm, which borders the dam's water reservoir.

Children flee to safety Solai, Nakuru county (Star Newspaper) Ariel view Solai, Nakuru County (Nation Newspaper)

In Garissa Diocese, communities have been marooned by floods in Tana River, with Bura and Tana Delta sub counties the worst affected as families are forced to spend the nights on trees and rooftops. Kenya Red Cross has established 108 camps in Tana River and eight in Kilifi which are hosting the flood victims who total to 64, 000 people and only 4,000 have shelter, they are also at risk of water-borne diseases because the camps lack toilets.

Flooded farmlands along the river Tana (Nation Newspaper) Locals use canoes to cross floods that cut off the road at Hamdaruku area in Tana River County (Standard Newspaper)

Impact of the floods

  • Loss of human life – 132 persons has died country wide and 33 injured.
  • Shelter and NFIs - 311,164 persons have been displaced country-wide rendering them homeless. Displaced populations are staying in evacuation centers and are in need of shelter support.
  • Livelihoods and food security - The floods have led to losses of crops and livestock. Acres of farmland have been destroyed and livestock killed by the floods across the country. The floods have also disrupted market access and the loss of income for affected households, which results in reduced purchasing power.
  • Infrastructure - The floods have damaged and disrupted road infrastructure across the affected counties, as well as health and education facilities. Flooding has affected people’s access to aid and services, including markets and hospitals. Major roads networks and power lines have been cut-off affecting transport and movement of people and goods.
  • Education – Residents in some areas have asked local authorities to delay the school term by a week, while they recover from the floods. Some schools are inaccessible due to flooding and some school buildings have been damaged or destroyed.
  • Water and Sanitation –There are WASH needs in affected areas due to the damage of water infrastructure and the risk of disease outbreak. Damaged water sources need restoring and chemicals for water treatment need to be distributed. Water sources have been polluted posing a danger of outbreak of water borne diseases.
  • Health – Flash floods have reportedly damaged health facilities in the affected areas. Warm weather conditions in combination with high precipitation are conducive for the breeding of mosquitoes, which could lead to the spread of vector-borne diseases like Chikungunya, Malaria, and Dengue. An ongoing cholera outbreak is heightening health concerns and polio remains a risk in Kenya. Flood-displaced people may be in need of psychosocial assistance.
  • Protection - There is a risk of increased cases of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in displaced communities due to the breakdown of social structures, Furthermore, the protests that followed the incident indicate social tensions between flood affected communities and local authorities, who some feel have prepared and responded poorly to the disaster.
  • Conflict – There is serious conflict as house-holds scramble for the space in their temporary settlement site. Conflict is also common whenever there is food distribution or any donation being given out.

Identified needs

  • Provision of relief food
  • Supply of Non-Food Items (NFIs) e.g. water jerricans, blankets and mosquito nets
  • Emergency medical supplies including water treatment
  • Temporary shelters (Plastic sheets)
  • Immediate evacuation of populations living in flood prone areas
  • Water harvesting technologies
  • Support families rebuild their homes.
  • Support livelihood activities such as livestock and poultry farming

Next Steps

According to the Kenya Meteorological Department, rains have continued in most parts of the country since the first week of March and are expected to end in the month May. This means that flooding menace is likely to continue in most part of the country.

The affected Counties have coordination forums where County governments’ response departments together with local NGOs coordinate response on a weekly basis in which Diocesan Caritas are members. Information sharing is enhanced at this level. Assessments are also coordinated through the Kenya Initial Rapid Assessment teams.

To get a better picture of humanitarian needs across the country, the Ministry of Devolution and Arid and Semi-Arid Lands, together with the Ministry of the Interior and Coordination of National Government, Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) and humanitarian partners, is undertaking assessments.

Caritas Kenya will continually update the confederation on the Floods Situation. 

Report by:

Caritas Kenya Emergency Team