Northern Kenya – “As soon as I received the early warning alert on the coming flash floods, I cautioned my son from grazing on the riverbanks and moved my family and livestock to higher ground,” narrated Lorigom.

Approximately one month after receiving alerts, heavy rains ensued, River Kospir burst its banks destroying everything on its path. Fortunately, no lives and livestock were lost following IOM’s early warning alert system set up on disaster preparedness.

Through this project IOM is complimenting the County governments of Tana River and Turkana’s efforts in strengthening mechanisms on disaster risk reduction and building the resilience of communities. The project established community-based disaster risk committees, which are key in sharing critical information especially on impending disasters thus preventing the loss of lives and livelihoods.

The establishment of these committees has enhanced timely communication and rapid response measures minimizing the damage caused by disasters such as flash floods and landslides.

Better early warning systems warned pastoralist groups to evacuate to higher land before the flash floods devastated Turkana County. Photo: IOM Kenya/Moses Otunga.

“Turkana residents can now proactively respond to disasters following the establishment of the committees. In addition, IOM trained committee members on disaster preparedness, mitigation, and response building their capacities in managing and adapting to the risks of extreme weather in a changing climate,” says Jacob Lokiriama, chair of the county disaster committee.

Moreover, IOM is building the committees capacities and providing them with the tools they need to enhance disaster preparedness and response. For example, community radio stations and door-to-door campaigns have been initiated by the committee members to disseminate the information to communities especially those on the move.

Tana River and Turkana Counties are most susceptible to extreme weather and climate change, as they are among the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands in Kenya. Building resilience among communities and authorities is essential for ensuring that they are prepared to hear and accurately interpret warning signals and respond swiftly to lessen the effect of the next weather catastrophe.

Through its adaptation and resilience initiatives supported by the IOM Development Fund, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is dedicated to assisting the Government of Kenya in enhancing its early warning system and improving the capacity of local communities to swiftly respond to climate shocks and disasters.

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