Forty-eight-year-old Lillian Akotsi who hails from Lugale Sub location, Khajula location in Budalangi constituency is one of the displaced victims of the backwash floods who received support from the floods intervention project in a partnership between ADS Western and World Renew. Lillian, a mother of four was displaced together with her husband and children they were putting up in a neighbor’s home they had been allocated a small hut that was then serving as the neighbor’s store.
Lillian’s story represents the plight of the 35000 persons who were among the 6000 households displaced by floods in Busia by April 2020. The floods were particularly severe because it combined the flooding of River Nzoia and backflow floods from Lake Victoria. Backflow floods occur when the water inflow into the lake exceeds the normal rate of outflow out of the lake through the outlet channels and evaporation. Towards the end of the year 2019, the catchment area of Lake Victoria received above-average precipitation which resulted in increased levels of water of the lake.
According to Lillian, the makeshift shelter in which her household was putting up was not of acceptable conditions for human occupation as it was leaking, used to get very cold at night and was heavily infested by mosquitoes due to pools of water surrounding it. Besides, she was having a challenge of inadequate access to clean and safe water for her family. Her greatest fear was that her children could contract water-borne diseases and malaria. She said, “The house was small, cold and had a lot of mosquitoes at night, I was sure my children will get ill, if not malaria they would catch pneumonia”. In addition, Lillian opens up that the house was so small that most of their household items could not fit in.
Lillian was lucky to be selected among the 500 beneficiaries of the relief items that ADS Western with World Renew distributed on 27th February 2020. Just like other displaced victims, Lillian’s household received a water purifier, water storage container, a tarpaulin, a blanket, and a mosquito net. She was very delighted to receive these items that proved to be a big reliever to the challenges she was facing.
Thanks to the ADSW’s intervention, Lillian could manage to keep her six children warm at night with the blanket she received. The risk of malaria and water-borne diseases was relieved by the distribution of mosquito nets and water purifiers respectively. Lastly, the tarpaulin that was distributed was erected by her husband and provided storage space for their household items. The water container provided enabled the household to store enough household water for five days before the need for refilling.
ADS Western and its partners such as World Renew and Diakonia while working closely with the Anglican Diocese of Nambale reached 1000 households with a population of 6000 people through the provision of tarpaulins, dignitary pads, soaps, hand washing stations, amaranth flour, water storage containers, water purifiers, mosquito nets, and blankets. Even though this is through a great effort that cannot be overlooked, it is still a drop in the ocean given that 5500 households were displaced by floods by April 2020. More interventions have been made to the victims of floods through partnerships.
There is a need for stronger fundraising efforts in order to implement sustainable interventions against the impacts of perennial floods in Budalangi on the lives and livelihoods of the residents.
Photo: Canon Peter Mudy CEO ADS Western(left), The Anglican Diocese of Nambale Bishop(2nd left) and the area MP issues assorted household items to a victim of floods
Mima Winstone Atamba- ADS- Western Project Coordinator for Climate Change Governance Project