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6 June 2024 - News


Whitney and his father stand right where their house stood before the floods came. Photo Courtesy|Gideon, Sigilai, Save the Children

By Dorothy Waweru

In Nairobi’s informal settlements, the havoc caused by the floods remains almost a permanent mark in most people’s minds. For Whitney, a high school student, the floods came at a time least expected. She says that the raging waters spared not even her school uniform, books and the shopping her father had done for her and her three siblings. She is worried of her return to school. Not far from her, Whitney’s father stares at the rubble which was once his house. He says that on that fateful night, the floods washed away his entire house within a short span of time.

He could not save anything and looked helplessly as his entire house was filled with water submerging all his household items. Polycarp says that he and his family run for safety and are currently being housed by a friend. Life as he puts has become tough and he hopes that they can rebuild their lives once again.

“I lost everything to the waters save for the clothes we wore on that day. I estimate that I lost goods worth Ksh.300,000 including electronics. So far, we have gotten help from the government in terms of food and blankets, but we need more help. I am worried about my children especially those going to school because they have lost all their education materials such as bags, uniform and stationery. I do not know where to start and have resulted to asking for help from my friends, ”says Polycarp.

It is not only the situation of being homeless that worries Polycarp but also the state of one of his daughter’s schools which he has been told by a teacher is currently flooded. As schools re-open, Polycarp is concerned about the state in which his children are reporting back to school since he says they have lost everything. It is his wish that government and other agencies would do more to ensure that people affected by the floods will get the much-needed assistance.

“My father had prepared me for school re-opening by buying me all the items I needed but now I am left with nothing as everything was carried away or destroyed completely by the floods. I do not know how I or my siblings will go back to school. I pray that the government will provide us with books and school uniform and even pay for part of our school fees so that we can resume our studies,” says Whitney.

The psychological trauma of the floods on Whitney is evident. shares that her greatest worry as a result of the floods is her father’s situation. She is worried about her father getting enough money to pay for school fees for her and her siblings. Even though worry fills Whitney’s mind, she says that one of her hopes is to resume school, work hard and become a doctor so that she can support her family.

In addition, Polycarp urges that the government should educate the local citizens on climate change issues to avert future catastrophes as has been witnessed with the floods.

“It is good for the government to come and educate people on climate action since the climate crisis is now bearing its brunt on everyone especially children.” Says Polycarp.

Save the Children is complementing government and other stakeholder efforts by providing cash transfers, distributing hygiene kits, household kits and water treatment kits. The organisation is also providing education kits to support the back-to-school agenda. Jointly with the Directorate of Children Services and other partners, we will keep monitoring the situation while providing the much-needed protection services including training communities to share any protection concerns through a Save the Children short message alert (SMS) alert number 25855, child help line toll free number 116 and Gender-Based Violence free hotline 1195.