The Floods; What Are We Supposed To Do In The Face Of Adversity?

Adversity is what I can define in a layman language as the state where we realize things are developing into what we did not expect of them. In other words, you expected things to work in your favor but unfortunately they work against way. What you do with the situation is what matters the most and perhaps determines if you can avoid the calamity when it strikes again, that is if it does happen again.

An example of what I can term adversity is the recent floods experienced across our country Kenya. From the onset, we expected that the rain will be a blessing to us after experiencing another adversity of long and extended droughts. Of course the rain has been a huge blessing to us, no doubt on this.

As one of the expected outcomes when it rains heavily over extended periods of time, the rains started to flood and that is when hell broke loose. It now looks like we are people who have never known that floods exist. The floods have caused havoc and we are left to blame the rain maker for our misfortunes. As a matter of fact, the rain maker knows that we need this rain, so we can definitely handle this and that is why it keeps on raining.

In Ancient biblical times, Noah was told of floods to come and instructed to build an ark. He had faith in that prophecy and it took him a whole generational period to build it. He really understood the need for preparation. Even if at worst it never rained, then he would have a residence. This is the approach we need to have if we are to mitigate the effects of flooding.

For your information, it had never rained before the time of Noah. So, the people in their ignorance, had a ‘reason’ to doubt the prophecy of the floods. The difference with us is that it has always rained year in year out and floods have been with us for as long as I can remember. The point lies in the way we continue to react to this calamity.

When Mark Twain first visited Israel, he described the country as just a barren desert land. He really doubted a lot if the barren land would ever reproduce anything good for her people. For those who know the story of Israel, things are not the same any longer.

Today, Israel has built drainage systems that take water from the red sea and the Mediterranean to other parts of the country. Its massive desert land has ended becoming a bread basket for the world. This is the perfect scenario case of an adversity turned to a blessing. We need to look at things from this angle.

In another bizarre case, Israel is the only country that recycles more than 30% of its waste water. To make it sound serious, they recycle a whopping 70% of their waste water. Think about that number and you see what human ingenuity can do. It seems like we have decided not to use even a small portion of ours on this other side of the world. This explains why we experience brain drain. If you don’t use the small you have, it gets taken away and gets used by those who know how to use it.

floods In Nairobi
Recent floods experienced in Kenya, we were unprepared for the effects of the heavy rains. Photo Courtesy of The Star Kenya.

Can Kenya be another case of Israel?

Let me put forward a few measures I think can help our country in solving its floods crisis that I have seen time and again. It should be understood first though that these measures need to be implemented over a period of time and the citizens should be very central in offering support for the same.

With the advent of devolution, it is now possible that we can handle some issues at county levels instead of longingly looking at the national government to handle some of these issues. So the first important step to take is to address the issues of floods at county levels before looking longingly at the national government. This can be by first fostering partnerships with other foreign countries or local private sectors key to sustainable water management. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, but it is should be undertaken.

Secondly, each place that has ever been affected by floods should do a feasibility study and identify the root cause of the floods. A detailed analysis should be documented to allow for expertise advice on what measures can be taken to mitigate such cases going forward. It is this analysis that will provide insights on the approach to be taken to address such problems.

For instance, by now we should be having a clear explanation why there is no water in Ndakaini dam that supplies water to the city. If it is a case of diversion, then, we could have quickly channeled the floods water in the city and Kiambu off to Murang’a. There has been water everywhere. Those who use the Northern by pass must have seen a lot of floods water along the road. The same applies to Kiambu and even Nairobi town. I am a scientist and I know that that water is recyclable.

In another case, the Northern part of Kenya needs properly designed adaptable dams, tanks and water pans to help store the rain water. We have a lot of jobless graduate engineers who can be tasked with the work. Another cream of scientists and water experts can be put in place to bring technologies that can help in water treatment. A friend of mine shared a few photos of floods in Wajir and I can tell you we have had a lot of water going to waste.

The same case could be addressed for the Mahi Mahiu area. Water Canals and dykes should be made, in a way that they can handle the worst cases of flooding in the area. That needs a long term solution and not merely the at-the-moment solutions being used at the moment.

I am told Budalangi is safe nowadays. What was done there that can be done elsewhere? I am made to understand that engineers went to that are and identified the areas where the flooding started, build dykes, water canals and water ways that diverted water to irrigation schemes around that area. And we are not talking of floods in Budalangi even after it has rained this much.

We can use waste and flood water to build irrigation schemes and also change our food crisis narratives. It depends on what we want and how we want it. If we can’t figure it out, and I know we can, we can bring in the Israelis and let them help us. It is not cowardice to seek for help. Only then can we begin to see a change of narrative. The politics of misery for idolizing politicians and also their ego should cease if we are to change the floods narrative.

As I started, that calamity can be a blessing in disguise, is how conclude. I only touched on a few ways to handle floods water and there are many more ways, it is a discussion open for us to continue and through that, we can begin looking at things from the edge point of the coin. We are the change makers. How we look at situations matters more than what we do with them.


Copyright @ 2018.



Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Manufacturing, Technology, Innovation, Governance, Management and International Emerging Issues. For featuring, promotions or support, reach out to us at
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