When El Niño comes knocking, it does not arrive empty-handed; it brings a storm of adverse effects to the affected areas. From disease outbreaks to facility destruction and a cloud of insecurity, it is a tempest that demands preparedness. So, join us in this article as we explore the essential precautions to keep you safe in the face of El Niño's fury. Grab a cool drink, settle in, and let us embark on a journey to secure your safety amidst the El Niño." 

What is El Nino?

El Nino is the climate pattern that describes the warming of the surface of the Pacific Ocean that can lead to drastic changes in weather patterns all over the world.

One expected effect of the El Nino period in the Northeastern part of Africa is above-average rainfall resulting in floods in some parts of Eastern Africa. El Nino can bring about some significant weather changes, therefore we must remain alert and adhere to warnings by relevant authorities.

What to expect during El Nino

According to the Water Resources Authority, heavy rainfall may lead to river levels rising significantly. It may overtop the banks and cause flooding in adjacent low-lying areas such as lower Nyando, lower Nzoia, lower Sondu, lower Gucha Migori and the shoreline streams of Lake Victoria basin; lower Perkerra, Enkare Narok river at Rumuruti, lower Tana River at Garissa, Hola, and Garsen. Other areas to be on the lookout for include the Laggas within the mid-Tana basin (Kitui and Makueni Counties) and the Ewaso Ngíro North basin (Wajir and Mandera). There is also a high possibility of the filling of dams with a likelihood of them spilling over and causing flooding downstream. The major dams in the country include Bathi, Chemeron, Chemususu, Chinga, Ellegirini, Kakuzi, Gitaru, Kamburu, Kiambere, Kindaruma, Masinga, Kiboko, Kikoneni, Kimau, Kirandich, Kiserian, Maruba, Mkurumudzi, Moiben, Mulima, Muoni, Radat, Ruiru, Sasumua, Sondu Miriu, Thiba, Ndakaini, Tindress and Turkwel dams.


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Diseases and infection

Flooding and intense rainfall caused by El Nino may significantly limit access to safe water, sanitation facilities, and hygiene services. Water-borne infections could result from damaged or flooded sewage infrastructure. Other consequences of El Nino include:

  • The threat of disease outbreaks is elevated during the rainy season. Backflow from drains that have mixed with floodwaters can become trapped in open areas when inundations recede.
  • These stagnant pools often become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and bacteria, increasing the incidence of insect- and waterborne diseases such as malaria, Rift Valley fever, and dengue fever.
  • Exposure to contaminated water from inundated industrial sites, sewer systems, and septic tanks also poses a significant health threat leading to diseases such as typhoid fever, shigellosis, and hepatitis A and E.
  • Food preparation may be similarly impacted, hence the increased cases of Leptospirosis, a rodent-borne disease associated with flooding.
  • Increase in respiratory illnesses such as asthma as a result of prolonged periods of cold weather especially in flooded houses.
  • Rise in Mental health issues as a result of displacement and loss/destruction of property/lives.
  • Destruction of infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and health facilities due to flooding, making it difficult to access health care, especially among the most vulnerable in the community.

Infrastructure damage

  • Floodwaters and debris flows may render some bridges, rail networks, or roadways impassable, impacting overland travel in and around affected areas, especially in rural areas, where infrastructure is already of a poor standard.
  • Ponding on road surfaces could cause hazardous driving conditions on regional highways. Authorities could temporarily close some low-lying routes that become inundated by floodwaters.
  • Severe weather could also trigger flight delays and cancellations at domestic and international airports.
  • Authorities may temporarily suspend port operations or close beaches if strong winds trigger hazardous sea conditions.
  • Flooding could block regional rail lines; freight and passenger train delays and cancellations are possible in areas that see heavy rainfall and potential track inundation.
  • Localized business disruptions may occur; some businesses might not operate at full capacity because of flood damage to facilities, possible evacuations, and some employees' inability to reach work sites.
  • Security risk increases during the rainy season due to poor road conditions of roads, loss of electricity.
  • Looting of shelters/property of persons who escape the floods.
  • Food shortage

 El Niño rains may cause flooding and erosion, which can damage crops and livestock, leading to food shortages.


Protection risks

The break in law-and-order systems, disruptions in the normal lives. Emergencies that are occurring due to EL Nino can cause various risks and unsafe environments. It can include violation of human rights and barriers to service access, adding up to protection risks and emergencies; Specifically;

  • Limited access to health and nutrition services.
  • Limited access to communication channels
  • Increased rumors and misinformation
  • Disrupt Internet connectivity.
  • People with disabilities may suffer during displacement.
  • Older people’s specific needs may be neglected in emergency
  • Human trafficking (a crime that involves compelling or coercing a person to provide labor or services, or to engage in commercial sex acts), loss of identification documents, and other important documents
  • Undocumented new arrivals are at more risk of exploitation and abuse.
  • The closure of schools can immediately remove a good protective sphere for children. These factors may lead girls and women to be much more exposed to sexual exploitation and sexual violence.


What you should do during El nino


Nutrition for newborn babies

The flooding resulting from the El Nino rains will cause more diarrhea cases, which will cause malnutrition. During the El Nino rains, mothers need to:

  • Increase breastfeeding their child for the first six months (do not give them any other foods or liquids, even water). Therefore, the mother and child should not be separated at night.
  • Breastfeed more frequently when the baby is ill, even when he/she has diarrhea, to prevent weight loss and speed up recovery.
  • Take your baby to the health facility immediately if the baby is refusing to breastfeed.
  • Only give them medicines that have been prescribed by the health care provider.
  • Mothers should increase the frequency of breastfeeding during the recovery period to help the baby regain weight and catch up in growth.

For children 6-24 months, Mothers should:

  • Breast milk continues to be the most important part of your baby’s diet.
  • Put 6-month and above babies on other foods in addition to breast milk.
  • Breastfeed their baby on demand both day and night.
  • Breastfeed first before giving other foods.
  • Give a variety of food at least 3 times a day with snacks in between.

Feeding the baby

  • Baby may need time to get used to eating foods other than breast milk.
  • Be patient and actively encourage your baby to eat.
  • Do not force your baby to eat.
  • Use a separate plate to feed the baby to make sure he or she eats all the food given.

Ensure Hygiene

  • Avoid diarrhea and other illnesses by maintaining cleanliness.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before preparing food and feeding the baby.
  • Wash your hands and your baby’s hands before eating.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet and washing or cleaning the baby’s bottom.
  • Feed your baby using clean hands, clean utensils, and clean cups.
  • Use a clean spoon or cup to give food or liquids to your baby.
  • Do not use bottles, teats, or spouted cups since they are difficult to clean and can cause your baby to become sick.
  • Store the foods to be given to your baby in a safe clean place.
  • Give baby clean drinking water.
  • Ensure proper disposal of waste


  • Stay informed: Stay alert by keeping up with the latest weather updates. This will provide timely information and allow you to take necessary precautions. This information can help you anticipate and prepare for severe weather conditions.
  • Seek safe shelter: Whenever possible, seek safe shelter that can protect from heavy rain, strong winds, and potential flooding. If living in temporary structures, improve your resilience to adverse weather conditions.
  • Store belongings in a safe place: Store important documents, food, and belongings above ground level to prevent damage from flooding. Ensure that emergency supplies, such as clean water, non-perishable food, and first aid kits, are readily accessible.
  • Stay away from flooded areas: Due to the likelihood of flash floods following heavy rains, it is advisable to avoid areas prone to flooding whenever possible. If feasible, consider relocating to safer grounds before the onset of the rains. Follow the guidance of local authorities regarding evacuation if necessary.
  • Prepare an emergency kit: Create an emergency kit that includes essential items like clothing documents, blankets, flashlights, batteries, a portable radio, hygiene supplies, and any necessary medications. Keep this kit easily accessible should you need to leave in a rush.
  • Plan evacuation routes: Identify safe evacuation routes in advance and ensure all family members know the way to reach a safe shelter. Establish a meeting point if family members get separated during an evacuation.
  • Stay connected: Have a communication plan in place with family members, friends, or support networks. Ensure you have charged mobile phones and a way to keep them powered, like portable or solar chargers.
  • Community support: Collaborate with other refugees and the local community to share resources, and information, and support one another during adverse weather events.
  • Seek assistance: If you face an emergency, do not hesitate to seek help from local authorities, humanitarian organizations, or community leaders or call any of the numbers indicated below for guidance and assistance during crises.
  • Ensure that the water drainage system at your home is functioning properly, allowing water to flow away from the house. This can be achieved by repairing any broken or leaking house gutters.
  • Clear any accumulated trash or debris in the compound that could obstruct drainage, enabling smooth water flow.
  • Trim tree branches and limbs in the compound that may appear weak due to winds and dry weather. This precaution prevents uprooting during heavy rain season.
  • Refrain from walking or driving through flooded roadways to prevent the risk of drowning. Exercise caution and choose alternative routes if necessary.
  • Heavy rainfall often leads to power blackouts, so it is essential to have an alternative power system for backup, which can be helpful in such situations.
  • Avoid contact with electrical equipment that could cause electrocution during heavy rains. Stay away from exposed wires or electrical appliances to ensure personal safety.
  • Avoid parking under trees as heavy rains could cause uprooting and breaking thus damage to your motor vehicle.
  • Lastly, remember to stay Warm.


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Emergency Contacts

AssistanceKakuma Refugee Camp Hagadera Refugee Camp

International Rescue Committee (IRC)   


GBV hotline: 0702572024

International Rescue Committee (IRC)   


GBV hotline: 0708516530, Also on WhatsApp 

Psycho-social support (Counselling)

Danish Refugee Council


Toll-Free Phone: 0800720414, Also available on WhatsApp 

International Rescue Committee (IRC)   


GBV hotline: 0708516530, Also on WhatsApp 


Refugee Consortium of Kenya (RCK)   



Toll-Free Phone: 0800720262 

Telephone 070141497

Refugee Consortium of Kenya (RCK)



Telephone: 0703848641 



If you have any questions, please write to us via the Julisha.Info Facebook page, or chat with us on WhatsApp (+254110601820) Monday through Friday from 08:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.