Lina Masile gathered some courage to speak to us about her ordeal with the floods. ‘I woke up early in the morning to go open my shop as has been the norm. I was in shock by what I saw when I approached Tangulbei shopping centre. My shop was full of water; shop items submerged in water, while other items washed away together.’
. Luckily, the local partners and neighbours had organised themselves to come and rescue children and women, leading them to higher grounds. “We are displaced from our home and we don’t have anywhere to go. I have never seen anything like this before. This is so painful and my whole world has crumbled down in a matter of minutes,” she said.
Lina is a member of the local Disaster Management Committee (DMC) and a member of the Tangulbei Village Savings and Loaning Association a group they formed after training from, Action Aid. Unfortunately among the more than seventy people affected by floods in the Tangulbei Local Rights Programme. Solely relying on her shop, she was the breadwinner of her family of 16.
“I had taken a loan of fifty five thousand Kenyan shillings from my local Village Savings and Loan Association, and even sold my cow worth twenty seven thousand and used all the money to purchase more stock as part of my business expansion plan. Sadly, together with my previous stock, it has all been washed down the drain,” remarks Lina.
Heavy seasonal rains started in early July in parts of Baringo County, resulting in flooding across the areas bordering Lake Baringo and river Tangulbei. Tangulbei River burst its banks sweeping through the shopping Centre affecting and displacing the business communities
Farmland, infrastructure, and roads have been destroyed in one of the worst flood experiences in the region. The roads to the LRP still remain cut-off, power lines damaged and shops washed away. Market stalls clogged in stagnant water, with no available place to for the local women to sell their produce.
As a result of the damaged road infrastructure, it has been very difficult for aid organisations to access the LRP.
While continuing with our ongoing response to the protracted crisis in Tangulbei, ActionAid works with local partners, national and local authorities to scale up flood response in the affected areas, where those most impacted are vulnerable women, children and people living with disability.
“Tumepoteza kila kitu; vitu za duka zote, vyakula, na kila kitu. Lakini tunashukuru Mungu kwa maisha (We lost everything: from stock, food to, but, we thank God, we are all alive! God is great),” Lina said. She and her family received an emergency distribution of 45kgs of dry maize 15kgs beans, 2 litres cooking oil, soap and other hygiene supplies, and jerry cans and aquatabs for treating and storing water.
With support from ActionAid, through the Gender Responsive Alternative to Climate Change project funded by Australian Aid as Disaster Management Committee Member, we have been mobilising communities to create awareness on the impacts of climate change such as floods and droughts, its causes and how we need to adapt. These disasters have been exacerbated by impacts of climate change. “We have been trained to build livelihoods such as the VLSAs were we save money finance our different initiatives but our efforts are largely affected when disasters strike and we have to start from zero each time”, Lina said. As women we collected views from the community on the impacts of climate change and prepared a climate change charter of demands, held a match last year in Tangulbei centre during global climate action week to raise awareness on climate change and presented our demands to the county leadership. Part of what of our demands was a call upon the government to set up County Climate Change Fund Act with at least 5% of the budget to be provided for women’s adaptation activities. If the collective efforts of women can be financed we will become more resilient in the face of climate change.