The Role of the Lamu Emergency Operations Centre in Building Resilience and Managing Disaster


Located in the northern coastal region, Lamu County covers an expansive area of     6,273 square kilometers and is home to a population of around 143,920 inhabitants. This region is highly susceptible to a wide array of natural and human-induced disasters.

 These include terrorism, marine accidents, drought, flooding, famine, desert locust invasions, cyclones, violent conflicts, road transport accidents, fire outbreaks, marine pollution, environmental degradation, livestock and wildlife disease epidemics, crop pest infestation and other calamities.

Throughout its history, the coastal County has confronted notable difficulties when disaster strikes, resulting in tragic loss of life, forced relocation and widespread disruption to livelihoods and infrastructure.

  • 2009: A devastating fire broke out in Faza town, resulting in the displacement of 2,500 individuals and the destruction of 430 houses, marking one of the most disastrous events in Kenya's history.
  • 2014: The County fell victim to an attack by Al-Shabaab terrorists, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 87 lives.
  • 2016: A maritime incident led to the loss of over 12 lives, predominantly women and children, as a boat capsized, claiming the lives of occupants and rescuers.
  • 2019: Hazardous floods displaced over 5,000 households, destroying over 2,000 houses, and washing away 9,800 livestock. This calamity also led to outbreaks of waterborne diseases, necessitating indefinite school closures.
  • 2020: Lamu was invaded by Desert Locusts, which destroyed 70% of farms, leaving many without food.
  • 2021: The County faced an acute drought, displacing over 10,000 households, prompting school closures due to hunger, with wild animals encroaching settlement areas in search of water.

Many of the above-mentioned challenges could have been mitigated if the County had established an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), equipped to efficiently manage early warning system information, coordinate timely responses and facilitate collaboration among multiple agencies.

An Emergency Operations Centre is critical during crises, providing a dedicated space for gathering, analyzing, and disseminating information. By consolidating data and streamlining communication channels, an EOC enables authorities to make informed decisions and implement effective response strategies promptly.

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Date of Publication:
27 May, 2024

Nzei Mwende & Shee kupi

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