Governor Wavinya Ndeti has said Machakos County was ready to tackle disasters and emergencies linked to the El-Niño rains whose onset in the region is expected in a few days.
Wavinya said the county emergency teams have adequately been trained and equipped to offer rescue and evacuation services to residents who may be affected by the effects of heavy rains.
The governor, who spoke on Friday, also that revealed some 105 officers have received specialized first responder training in live-saving medical care, emergency operations and pre-hospital care providers.
The training also targeted ambulance drivers, emergency dispatchers and fire engine operators.
“As a government, we have taken it upon ourselves to deploy a proactive approach in dealing with the high possibility of extreme weather conditions, which most likely will trigger the need for emergency response,” she said.
Wavinya was speaking on Friday at her White House office in Machakos where she unveiled the county El-Niño multi-agency preparedness plan.
She went on: “El-Niño is bound to hit our region hard and even cause flooding and landslides in some regions within Machakos. As your governor, I am committing to do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of all residents and that of their property.”
To effectively deal with the El-Niño effects, Wavinya said her government had engaged scientists and meteorologists to provide accurate forecasts and early warnings.
“Their knowledge and expertise will guide us in understanding the potential risks and impacts of El-Niño in our county,” she said.
She also urged residents to observe and maintain high standards of hygiene in order to keep waterborne diseases at bay.
“Parents should also ensure the safety of their children and particularly warn them against swimming in swollen rivers and flooded areas. Motorists should also avoid approaching overflowing bridges and swollen river crossings,” Wavinya said.
Deputy Governor, Francis Mwangangi lauded the governor for taking a proactive approach in dealing with the expected emergencies.
“We laud the governor for not only showing the way but walking the talk in ensuring our teams are adequately prepared to deal with the challenge of El-Niño, which often comes with devastating effects,” said Mwangangi, pledging full support to the governor.
County Director of Emergency Services, David Mwongela said an Emergency Operation Center has been set up complete with standby first responders.
“Our emergency responders have been deployed to all the sub-counties, especially in likely hot spot areas that we have already mapped out. We have also released emergency call numbers to the Emergency Operation Centre which will be manned on a 24-hour basis,” said Mwongela.
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At the same time, county director of nursing, Halima Aden said all medical staff across the 189 public health facilities have been activated ahead of the anticipated rainy season. “We have involved all our healthcare stakeholders including Community Health Promoters in advance to seal off any possible loopholes of disasters linked to El-Niño,” she said.
Various county government departments including Health, Water, Agriculture, Devolution and Trade exhibited various tools, equipment and master plans of dealing with emergencies and disasters.