As lethal flooding displaces Kenyans, cholera cases rise

By Action Against Hunger

As lethal flooding displaces Kenyans, cholera cases rise

Kenyans have faced catastrophic flooding which has affected nearly 400,000 people, including more than 280,000 people who have been displaced. The floods are some of the deadliest in Kenya’s history, affecting 41 of 46 counties, including the capital city of Nairobi, where a quarter million people have been impacted.

Flooding began in April and lasted through early May. Rainfall is still expected, but major downpours have stopped. Still, much of the damage is yet to come as water rushes downstream to other regions, contaminating clean water sources as it travels. Waterborne illnesses are likely.

Tana River County, an area just east of Nairobi, has already reported more than 50 cases of cholera. Water has submerged residential areas, agricultural lands, schools, and towns as these cases continue to rise. With 45,000 people displaced in this region and entire homes washed away, families are left to grapple with a grim new reality.

See also: Infrastructure flaws and corruption worsen the impact of devastating flooding in Kenya, highlighting the need for climate crisis adaptation

Tana River County is one of Kenya’s poorest, with nearly 40,000 children suffering from malnutrition. Action Against Hunger is especially targeting this region for humanitarian support. Responses include medical outreach, hygiene promotion, and the distribution of purification tablets and menstrual and sanitation kits. Families will also receive shelter kits, which include mosquito nets, kitchen sets, sleeping mats, and tarpaulins, providing essential relief for nearly 12,000 people.

Before the floods began, Action Against Hunger pre-positioned basic supplies to enable a rapid response. Teams are addressing the aftermath, reaching 71,000 people with cash transfer programs, healthcare, psychosocial support, and initiatives focused on water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) assistance. For example, AAH is raising awareness about good hygiene practices, which can be a matter of life or death in regions where children are drinking muddy flood water, often collected in dirty pools on the side of the road.

In Kenya, over 1,465 water sources and 62 health facilities have been damaged. Families are forced to use unsanitary water sources and are unable to access medical assistance when they become ill. The country has set up 138 camps for internally displaced people, yet congestion is leading to unhygienic conditions.

The road to recovery for Tana River County and the rest of Kenya will not be an easy one. More disease outbreaks are imminent, and the risk of malnutrition only grows.