Busia, Siaya, Homa Bay and Migori have been identified as the four most vulnerable counties in the Lake Victoria Basin.

Persistent flooding mainly around Bundalangi and the current water rise in Lake Victoria have further worsened the situation with tens of families displaced and property destroyed.

To address this, the Lake Victoria Basin which works under the East Africa Community (EAC) has moved in to support Siaya and Busia in dealing with the weather vagaries caused by climate change.

Under the pilot programme, communities in the two counties will be assisted and trained in dealing with the current challenges facing them.

This emerged during a meeting held in Lake Naivasha Resort between EAC and senior officers from the two counties.

According to Mayani Saino from the Ministry of Environment, this was a pilot programme following studies that identified the four vulnerable counties.

Addressing the press during the meeting, Mayani who is the coordinator of the adopt climate change in Lake Victoria basin said that the programme would run until 2022.

“After the studies, the ministry and EACs have moved in to strengthen the resilience of the affected communities through the use of technology and new farming methods,” she said.

The senior officer noted that USD5m had been set aside to assist affected communities in the five EAC countries with Kenya getting Sh52m.

On his part, the Executive Secretary Lake Victoria basin commission Dr Ali Matano pointed to the current rise in water levels in Lake Victoria as currently the largest challenge.

He attributed the water rise to ongoing heavy rains that had been pounding the region starting from 2019 against low outflow of the water.

“We have seen persistent flooding in Homa Bay but the rise in the water levels has had an impact on other regions and hence this programme to support affected communities,” he said.

On the water rise, Matano noted that the lake collected water from 22 rivers with only one outlet in River Nile leading to a rise in the levels.

“We need to come up with an early warning system so that we can be prepared for drought or heavy rains which have created a crisis around the basin,” he said.

The CEC for Water and Environment in Siaya county George Misore admitted that the rising water levels had adversely affected all sectors including health and infrastructure.

“This programme comes in handy as it will help strengthen the resilience of affected persons through training, capacity building and introduction to new technologies,” he said.