European Union helps protect communities at risk of imminent dam spillage in Kenya

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In support to prevention measures regarding of a potential imminent dam spillage, which could potentially displace thousands of families along the swelling Turkwell dam in northern Kenya, the European Commission has provided EUR 50,000 (Kshs. 6.5 million) in humanitarian funding to strengthen the preparedness capacity to support at least 150 000 people at risk of flooding.

This EU funding will support the Kenya Red Cross Society in providing necessary support and evacuation of communities at risk. It is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The assistance will target over 150 000 people who will be directly affected by the rising waters of the dam after consecutive seasons of heavy rainfall in the dam’s catchment areas.  The Kenya Red Cross Society will support the evacuation of families closest to the dam, identify and prepare evacuation sites, set up first-aid posts, allocate and disseminate emergency numbers for people to call,  prepare their volunteers to conduct search and rescue as well preposition water treatment chemicals in preparedness for possible water contamination or the disruption of drinking water supply.

Given the high risk of an outbreak of waterborne diseases in the event of flooding, the Kenyan Red Cross Society will also conduct sensitisation sessions with communities to reduce the probability of an outbreak but also to inform them what to do in the event of an outbreak. This project will run for two months.

Built 35 years ago, the Turkwell dam has never filled up to its capacity. But over the last two months, the water levels of the dam have risen to critical levels following heavy rains in two consecutive seasons. As of 25 November, water levels in the dam had risen to 1,147.93 meters against a maximum height of 1,150 meters, leaving only 2.07 meters to spillage.

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