Emergency Appeal: Flood Relief in Kenya

December 4, 2019

Appeal code: 642X
Appeal amount: $500,000


Kenya’s rainy season is from October through December. While the rains can improve pasture conditions in arid or semi-arid regions and recharge water systems, heavy storms and resulting flooding have also been devastating. Flash floods and overflowing rivers have affected at least 31 of Kenya’s 47 counties, and some have experienced landslides or mudslides. On November 22, extreme rainfall struck parts of northern, western, central and coastal Kenya. That night, huge landslides and mudslides devastated parts of West Pokot County. The slides killed residents and destroyed homes and livelihoods.

According to the Kenya Red Cross Society, approximately 160,000 people have been affected by floods and/or slides as a result of heavy rainfall across the country, including 18,000 people who have been displaced. Following deadly landslides in West Pokot County in late November, Al Jazeera reported that, “In Kenya, East Africa’s economic hub, the government said 120 people have been killed in flooding and mudslides during an unusually severe rainy season. More than 60 died over the weekend in West Pokot County. Tens of thousands of people across the country have been displaced, while infrastructure has been damaged, making aid delivery more difficult.” According to the Kenyan government, of those 120 reported deaths, 72 were people who lost their lives after a landslide buried their houses in West Pokot County. An estimated 11,000 people are now living in camps for displaced people in West Pokot County.

Heavy rains also affected Tana River County on November 22 and 23 and caused widespread flooding. The Tana River burst its banks as its water level rose quickly. Roughly 4,900 households have been affected by floods, conflict and drought in Tana River Sub-county and need food, shelter, water, health and livelihood support. Two thousand households urgently require shelter support, based on the CWS assessment in the region.

These floods are a horrific reminder of the effects of climate change. The same communities that are now coping with floods were facing severe drought just a few months ago and are among the most marginalized and impoverished in Kenya.

Learn more about the crisis in this article from the BBC.

CWS Response

The Kenyan national and county governments are conducting search and rescue efforts and providing emergency supplies and officially designated evacuation shelters, but gaps remain in the relief effort. These gaps include shelter, food, clean water, safe sanitation, bedding, mosquito nets, medical supplies, kitchen supplies and psychosocial support.

CWS will respond in West Pokot and Tana River Counties alongside our partners. We work with Yang’at in West Pokot County and the Angelical Church and ADS Coastal Region in Tana River County. Our response will be collaborative within the ACT Alliance Forum Kenya and with the National Drought Management Authority and county governments.

A CWS team has completed a rapid assessment and identified the following priority needs:

  1. Psychosocial support: counseling
  2. Clothing: warm clothes and sanitary items for women
  3. Bedding: blankets and mattresses
  4. Health: mosquito nets and water treatment tabs
  5. Food and nutrition: whole meals for children and rations for adults
  6. Other: utensils and water containers for displaced people

Regarding recovery, three priorities have emerged:

  1. Shelter: iron sheets and roofing materials
  2. Farming restoration: irrigation systems, water pipes, farm tools and seeds
  3. Livelihood restoration: cash transfers

The CWS response is planned to reach 1,000 households in West Pokot County and 1,000 households in Tana River County.

First, we will identify the households and then purchase and distribute supplies based on specific needs. The focus will be on household items, food aid and aqua tabs for water treatment.

As the response turns to recovery and families return home, we will help them obtain iron sheets to repair roofs. When floods subside and farmers and fishers work to repair or replace damaged equipment, we will help them restart their livelihoods, including by providing seeds and agriculture tools. Communities will need to rehabilitate damaged infrastructure such as water sources and access paths, so we will look to use a cash for work system to help affected households while adding income flow into affected communities.

Throughout all these efforts, community involvement and stakeholder engagement will remain a priority. We will consistently engage with national and county government coordination committees and the ACT Alliance Kenyan Forum. We will capture lessons learned in order to help us improve future responses.


  • Emergency Response: $228,100
  • Recovery and Restoration: $193,000
  • Volunteer Management & Supply Distribution: $25,900
  • Capturing Lessons Learned: $3,000
  • CWS Response Coordinator / Coordination / Indirect Costs: $50,000
  • TOTAL: $500,000

How to Help

Donations to CWS flood response efforts can be made online at cwsglobal.org/kenya-flood-response, sent to your denomination or sent to CWS (P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515). When sending a check to CWS, please designate 642X, Kenya flood response.

CWS is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.