Resilience in Ruin: The Struggle and Strength of Kenyan Families Amid Catastrophic Flood

by Amref Health Africa

The past few weeks have seen continuous rains in Kenya that have caused flooding and the breaking of multiple riverbanks in several areas. In the wake of these devastating floods, which swept away homes and shattered lives, the resilience of the human spirit finds its echo in the story of Juliana Asuko, a young mother, and her one-year-old daughter, Helen.

Juliana and her child were forced to flee their home in Huruma, Nairobi, with nothing but clothes on their backs. After spending a harrowing night outdoors, they found refuge at the Undugu Society Camp, a makeshift sanctuary. In this new and uncertain environment, they tread a precarious path where survival is uncertain and becomes a rare and valuable treasure.

Juliana’s tale is of sheer determination in the face of overwhelming odds. As she cradles her malnourished daughter in her arms, her eyes betray a silent anguish borne from the loss of all they once held dear. Yet, amidst the chaos of displacement, Juliana’s love for Helen burns bright, a beacon of hope in their darkest hour.

“We lost everything,” Juliana recounts, her voice tinged with sorrow. “Our home, our belongings, our sense of security. But Hele is my anchor, my reason to keep fighting.”

For Juliana, the floodwaters brought physical displacement and the silent spectre of ailment. Helen, diagnosed with malnutrition, fell ill following the cramped conditions of the camps, worsening her health. With resources scarce and access to necessities limited, Juliana grapples with the harsh reality of providing for her daughter’s needs. “Every day is a struggle,” she admits, her gaze fixed on Helen’s fragile form. “But I refuse to let her suffer. She deserves better.”

Yet, amidst the daily battle for survival, Juliana faces another daunting challenge. Without means of communication, she finds herself cut off from her employer, unable to inform them of her inability to work. Her phone and all her possessions were swept away by the merciless currents of the flood, leaving her adrift in a sea of uncertainty.

In the heart of the camp, amidst the comradeship of fellow displaced families, Juliana finds solace in the kindness of strangers and the support of aid workers. Organizations dedicated to humanitarian relief, like Amref Flood Response, have been helping, providing essential supplies and continuous medical assistance to those affected by the floods.

Juliana is weary but hopeful, as she embraces Helen with unwavering love and resolve, that amidst the chaos, darkness, and despair, a miracle will allow her to start a new life and provide a home and safety for her and her daughter.

Author: Willa Obura, Communications Intern, Amref Health Africa in Kenya

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