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Cablegate: Usaid/Ofda Coast Province Floods Assessment

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNR #2360/01 3201109
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161109Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1554
INFO RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 0659
RUEHAE/AMEMBASSY ASMARA 5339
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 0229
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3388
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 7597
RUEHSUN/USMISSION USUN ROME IT
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 4703

UNCLAS NAIROBI 002360

AIDAC

AID/DCHA JBRAUSE
DCHA/OFDA FOR CCHAN; ACONVERY; KCHANNELL; MBEERS;
APIYAKA DCHA/FFP JBORNS; JDWORKEN; SANTHONY; CMUTAMBA;
DNELSON;
AID/AFR/EA JESCALONA

USUN FOR DMERCADO
ROME FOR HSPANOS
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
BRUSSELS FOR USEU JADDLETON; PBROWN
NSC FOR CPRATT

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: EAID PHUM PREL PREF KE
SUBJECT: USAID/OFDA COAST PROVINCE FLOODS ASSESSMENT

REF: A) NAIROBI 2196

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (U) According to the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS),
heavy rains from late October to early November resulted
in flooding in Malindi, Magarini, Kwale, Kilifi,
Mombasa, and Tana Delta districts, Coast Province,
killing at least four people and displacing more than
1,000 households. In response, USAID's Office of U.S.
Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) staff visited
Coast Province from November 5 to 9 to assess flood-
related damage, humanitarian needs, and ongoing response
efforts. According to USAID/OFDA staff observations and
discussions with humanitarian agencies, the floods
mostly affected Magarini and Tana Delta districts, with
Malindi, Kwale, Kilifi, and Mombasa districts sustaining
limited damage and displacement. In all districts
assessed, Government of Kenya (GoK) ministries, KRCS,
and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are meeting
the basic needs of flood-affected populations through
the provision of emergency food and relief supplies.
USAID/OFDA continues to closely monitor the situation
and maintains flexible programming mechanisms to
facilitate rapid response to emergency situations if
necessary. End summary.

-------------------------
2009 SHORT RAINS PROGRESS
-------------------------

2. (U) As a result of an El Nino weather phenomenon
(Ref A), the Kenya Meteorological Department has
projected normal to above-normal October to December
short rains throughout Kenya, primarily in flood-prone
parts of Nyanza, Western, North Eastern, Eastern, and
Coast provinces. While humanitarian agencies expect
enhanced rains to result in improvements in agriculture
and food security in drought-affected areas, heavy rains
would also likely result in flooding, reduced
humanitarian access, increased disease among humans and
animals, and crop damage.

3. (U) From October 28 to November 1, heavy rains in
Malindi, Magarini, Kwale, Kilifi, Mombasa, and Tana
Delta districts, Coast Province, resulted in floods,
displacing at least 1,000 households and destroying or
damaging houses, latrines, and roads. In addition,
floods washed away GoK-provided seeds, potentially
negatively affecting short rains crop production.
However, KRCS and GoK ministries note that floods have
not resulted in significant increases in diseases or
livestock deaths to date. As of November 6, the UN
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
reported that most areas in Coast Province, including
flood-prone districts, had received limited or no rain
since November 1, and USAID/OFDA staff noted a lack of
water remaining in most previously flood-affected
districts, with the exception of Tana Delta District.

-------------------
TANA DELTA DISTRICT
-------------------

4. (U) On November 5, USAID/OFDA staff visited the

most-affected Tana Delta District--previously the
southern part of Tana River District--to assess the
humanitarian situation of flood-affected individuals.
According to a World Vision rapid assessment, floods in
Garsen and Tarassa divisions, Tana Delta District,
displaced or affected an estimated 779 households, or
approximately 4,674 people, as well as submerged houses
and destroyed roads, preventing access to some affected
areas. Of the affected population, KRCS estimates that
floods displaced 485 households in Tana Delta District,
with the majority of displaced individuals belonging to
the pastoralist Orma ethic group. As the population is
semi-nomadic, most Orma houses are semi-permanent and
constructed out of woven mats and grass, making the
houses vulnerable to heavy rains or floods.

5. (SBU) During the assessment, USAID/OFDA staff
obsQved pools of water remaining in several low-lying
areas of the district, particularly in locations
surrounding Ortha sub-location. USAID/OFDA staff noted
that water levels of approximately 4 to 5 feet in some
areas have restricted access; however, populations
continue to move between affected locations and areas on
higher ground for assistance. (Note: During the
assessment USAID/OFDA staff also visited the Tana River.
Despite recent KRCS and media reports to the contrary,
USAID/OFDA staff noted that the Tana River has not yet
overflowed. USAID/OFDA staff note that water levels
would have to rise by 13 to 15 feet before the river
would overflow. (End Note) Displaced individuals are
currently residing in camps in Tana Delta, where KRCS,
NGOs, and GoK ministries have provided individuals with
assistance, including blankets, tarps, food, kitchen
sets, and water treatment tablets.

-----------------
MAGARINI DISTRICT
-----------------

6. (U) In the newly-created Magarini District--formerly
located in eastern Malindi District--USAID/OFDA staff
met with KRCS, UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) staff, NGOs,
and flood-displaced individuals to discuss humanitarian
conditions in displaced person camps. According to
KRCS, floods in Magarini District killed two individuals
and displaced an estimated 588 households to neighboring
schools and other facilities, as well as destroyed a
section of the Malindi-Garsen road. (Note: The road is
currently passable by heavy-duty vehicle or foot. (End
Note) To permit schools to resume classes, local
organizations subsequently moved displaced individuals
to four camps within the district.

7. (SBU) As of November 8, KRCS reported that an
estimated 547 households resided in the four Magarini
District camps, with 38 percent of displaced households
residing in Kurawa camp. (Note: USAID/OFDA staff
observed slightly lower numbers of households residing
in the camps than the KRCS-reported figures. In
addition, USAID/OFDA staff were unable to confirm
whether households remained in the camps at night and
returned in the morning to receive assistance or whether
individuals remained permanently in the camps. (End
Note) As the district has not received significant
rainfall for more than 10 days and most areas are
currently dry, local officials noted that individuals
may return to areas of origin in the coming weeks,
pending lack of further heavy rains.

8. (U) USAID/OFDA staff noted that populations within
the camps are receiving a significant amount of support
from UNICEF, through KRCS, and the GoK. Among the
assistance provided to affected households, KRCS has
distributed emergency food assistance and relief items,
including 2,000 blankets, 300 tarps, 1,000 mosquito
nets, 1,200 water containers, 300 buckets, 178 kitchen
sets, and 4,400 water treatment tablets. To limit the
spread of disease, the GoK Ministry of Public Health has
also established mobile heath clinics and distributed
water treatment tablets and medicines to affected
individuals.

---------------------------------------------
MALINDI, KILIFI, MOMBASA, AND KWALE DISTRICTS
---------------------------------------------

9. (U) In remaining flood-affected districts,
USAID/OFDA staff observed limited flood damage and
displacement, with most individuals returning to houses
as water levels receded. According to local NGOs and
GoK officials, water levels in the districts reached
approximately 2 to 3 feet during early November,
primarily due to limited drainage capacity and the
location of houses in low-lying areas. However, as of
November 9, USAID/OFDA staff noted little to no water
remaining and variable damage to houses in flood-
affected areas in Malindi, Kilifi, Mombasa, and Kwale
districts. According to local NGOs and USAID/OFDA
observations, floods primarily affected older, less
permanent houses, with many houses remaining at least
partially intact. Local NGOs report that flood-affected
individuals have sought shelter with relatives or host
families or remain in damaged houses. To date, local
NGOs and GoK ministries have worked to support
individuals in flood-affected districts.

----------
CONCLUSION
----------

10. (U) Based on the assessment, USAID/OFDA staff note
limited long-term flood damage and displacement within
Coast District, and relief agencies expect the majority
of displaced individuals to return to houses as flood
waters continue to recede. However, humanitarian and
GoK officials consistently highlighted that further
heavy rains could create significant problems in areas
already vulnerable due to previous floods, particularly
if the Tana River overflows.

11. (U) At present, USAID/OFDA staff report a
sufficient humanitarian response to floods in Coast
Province. However, USAID/OFDA continues to maintain a
robust network of implementing partners across Kenya
capable of providing rapid, life-saving interventions in
response to potential flooding and emergency situations,
if required. USAID/OFDA staff continues to liaise with
UN, NGO, and GoK agencies in Coast Province and other
flood-affected areas and closely monitor the progression
of the short rains season.

RANNEBERGER

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