Government rolls out robust measures to mitigate floods’ effects

The government is rolling out robust measures to mitigate the effects of floods in the country, President William Ruto has said.

The President said the government has adopted a “Whole of Government Approach” to ensure an effective response to the crisis following meteorological reports forecasting increased rainfall.

He said Cabinet Secretaries will spearhead disaster response and mitigation efforts across the country.

“Consequently, ministries, departments and agencies are directed to work closely with the National Disaster Operations Centre and security agencies to ensure purposeful management of the crisis,” he said.

Speaking during a National Address at State House Nairobi, President Ruto said the Treasury will provide adequate resources for the purchase and supply of food, medical equipment and other non-food items.

He said that coordination among the national and county governments, and development partners would significantly enhance disaster response and mitigation efforts nationwide.

“As the National Government plays its role in dealing with the current situation, I request county governments, development partners and the private sector to join the efforts,” he said.

President Ruto also announced that the Ministry of Education has been instructed to postpone school reopenings until further notice.

In addition, President Ruto directed county security committees to define the specific boundaries on riparian reserves so that those living there vacate.

“The county security committees are further directed to continuously monitor dams and other water reservoirs that may not be presenting a risk now but could do so in the event of more rains,” he said.

Additionally, the Kenya Defence Forces and the National Police Service are deploying resources, personnel and equipment for coordinated public safety and mitigation operations.

“Security agencies are further directed to enlist the support of the National Youth Service and the National Government Administration officers to respond to this emergency, including ensuring timely, orderly and humane evacuation of all persons at risk,” he said.

The government, he pointed out, is working with stakeholders to ensure adequate provision of temporary shelter as well as food and non-food essential supplies.

He also asked MPs to re-organise their National Government Constituency Development Fund allocations and give priority to the reconstruction of school infrastructure damaged by the floods and other forms of extreme weather.

He said the Kenya Meteorological Department and the IGAD Climate Prediction Applications Centre have warned that Kenya may face its first-ever cyclone.

“This cyclone, named Hidaya, could hit out shores any time now and is predicted to cause torrential rain, strong winds, and powerful and dangerous waves, which could potentially disrupt marine activities in the Indian Ocean and settlements along the Kenyan coast,” he said.

The President urged Kenyans in flood-prone areas to promptly relocate to safer grounds. He directed the Ministry of Interior to enforce relocation notices to prevent loss of life.

The President, however, said the measures being taken are aimed at responding to the current crisis in the immediate and short-term.

For the country to conclusively address the threats of climate change in the long term, the President explained, the country has to act and reverse the adverse effects of the existential phenomenon.

“I urge you, fellow citizens, to sustain and intensify your positive response to the ecosystem restoration plan, which aims to grow 15 billion trees natiionally in the next 10 years,” he said.

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