El Nino rains are caused by the warming of the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean. In the East African region the rains are expected to start in October and run all the way to December and in some places until February next year. These El Nino rains are expected to be stronger than the 1997-1998 El Nino rains. The government won’t help you if you have made your house a possible flooding zone.
So how do you prepare yourself for the rains?
1. Open drains and keep ditches and other collection ways clear
Clear all the drains around your house from all the plastic wraps, fruit peels, grass cuttings and silt. This will prevent of blockage when the water comes running in. you can have some of your neighbours help in clearing the drains in your area because if you only clear your section and they don’t do theirs then nothing fruitful will come from the effort. If there are places with tall grass just clear them out to avoid mosquitoes from lurking around.
2. Stack up on basic amenities
With the rains it will be very hard to go for shopping any time you like. The solution here will be to stock up on basic amenities. Stock up on food, water and anything else that does not spoil easily. If you haven’t purchased mosquito nets do so because there will be numerous pools of water that will be breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
3. Move to higher areas away from rivers and streams
If you live next to a river, stream or a swamp, move away if you can. There was a feature on people from Kibera who still live along the river and their houses were destroyed by the last rains but they do not have the ability to relocate. Those who can are willing but are first waiting for the rains to start. That’s not how that should be done. If you can move, now will be the time so you can complete building the house before the rains start. This is because with the quantity of rain expected the riverbanks will burst and the swamps will overflow and the water will find way into the settlements around there.
4. Know the emergency numbers to call
Save all the numbers that you would need in case of problems. Have numbers for Red Cross, the nearest hospital, your family members and any other authorities on speed dial.
Red Cross contacts: +254 02 3950000
+254 703 037000
+254 722 206958
+254 733 333041
Other emergency contacts can be found on www.nairobi.go.ke/emergency-services
5. Have your important documents secured
All your important documents should be placed somewhere the rain water won’t be able to reach them. Remove them from the suitcase under your bed and place them somewhere else. If you can scan them and have them as digital copies do so. You can also put them in ziplock bags and lock them somewhere safe.
The government can only do so much but you are responsible for your property. Just prepare your home and yourself so that you lose as little as possible during the El Nino.