Lokichar, 28th August (Governor’s Press Service)–A joint disaster coordination team has carried out assessment of areas along the Turkwel riverine at risk of flooding in anticipation of spill-over of the Turkwel dam.

Led by the County Department of Disaster Management, the team visited settlements, irrigation schemes and addressed communities living along the revirine as part of a mapping exercise to collect information which will advise a contingency plan.

County Director of Disaster Management Vincent Palor yesterday led one team consisting of experts in different fields and representatives of partner organisations, on a visit to Kaputir and Katilu wards for data collection and to address residents’ fears.

“This assessment is for the county and partners involved to be better prepared by understanding areas that sit at a high risk of flooding in the event of spill-over. We don’t want to be caught unawares,” Director Palor said when he addressed residents of Juluok in Kaputir Ward which was one of the stops made.

He dispelled fears that the warning of possible flooding was a ploy for residents along the revirine to abandon their lands but stated that community preparedness was critical to reduce losses in case of a disaster.

On Thursday, KVDA Regional Manager Samuel Kigen assured the team of the dam’s structural integrity and has a durability assurance of 100 years. Construction of the dam was completed in 1991. He said KenGen was working at full capacity to reduce water levels through two turbines, each   discharging 17m3 of water per second.

The dam’s structure is fitted with technology to monitor is integrity including deflections of the arc, hydrological and geological activities.

Water level at the dam has risen to a record high of 1,145.39 metres, with spillover designed to occur when the water hits the 1,150 metre mark. Reports have indicated that there has been no increase in the last 24 hours, and the trend could continue if heavy rains stop in the dam’s catchment of Mt. Elgon and Cherangany hills.

Assistant Director for Humanitarian Affairs John Tukei led a second team which visited Turkwel and Lobei/Kotaruk wards in Loima Sub-County for the vulnerability assessment.

Another team is in Turkana Central Sub County and is led by Deputy Director for Disaster Management Moses Nawoton. They have so far carried out assessment in Lodwar Township, Kerio Delta Ward and Kang’atotha wards and will conclude in Kanamkemer ward.

The assessment will identify spillage route and expected flooding areas, safe zones in the event of floods, population at risk, livelihoods and government installation such as health centres and dispensaries that could be affected.

Information collected will form part of a contingency plan being drafted as the County Government plans to be better prepared.

Turkana South team included Turkana South Sub-County Administrator Alex Losikiria, Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Benson Longor, Assistant Director for Humanitarian Affairs Namuya Benjamin, Ward Administrators Lomodei Lomodei (Lobokat), Ignatius Erupe (Kaputir) and Emmanuel Ewaar (Katilu) as well as experts from lands, irrigation, water and public health.

In Loima, Turkwel ward Administrator Imadis Ekuleu was part of the team.

Partner organisations involved include National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), World Food Programme (WFP) among others.