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Stop building on floodplains, say flood-hit U.S. families



Victims of worsening floods linked to climate change plan to “bombard” U.S. lawmakers with videos and postcards showing the human toll of flooding, organizers of the campaign said Monday.

The push by local and regional leaders across 16 U.S. states suffering worsening floods aims to halt development in low-lying floodplains and drive swifter action on climate change.

It comes as farmers and families in the U.S. Midwest struggle to recover from record-breaking floods that have kept many farmers from planting crops so far this year.

“When will our legislators get the message?” asked Hilton Kelly, a member of the campaign and a resident of Port Author, Texas, which was flooded after heavy rain from Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

The Higher Ground coalition of flood survivors, from states ranging from Florida to Missouri and Illinois, plans to “bombard local, state and national politicians with videos, photographs, emails and postcards documenting flooding” starting next Monday, coalition members said.

About 5% of the U.S. population in 2015 lived in areas expected to flood every 100 years, according to a 2017 report by New York University’s Furman Center.

But building in these areas is not prohibited so long as regulations to reduce risks are followed and owners purchase flood insurance, said Carlos Martin, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, a Washington-based think tank.

That is despite the National Climate Assessment, a U.S. government report published last November, noting that the impacts of climate change – including more frequent and powerful storms and floods – are already under way.

“Development continues in places that are less than ideal – known floodplains and future ones,” Martin said.

Some state legislatures and municipalities have put in place their own more stringent restrictions on building in low-lying areas, said Chad Berginnis, executive director of the Association of State Floodplain Managers, a non-profit.

About a half-dozen states, including Illinois and Wisconsin, have adopted floodplain building rules tighter than federal ones, and a few dozen communities have prohibited building on floodplains altogether, he said.

The beefed-up regulations have helped prevent losses, he said.

“The communities who have those kind of standards on their books typically experience less flood damage,” Berginnis said.

Higher Ground members will seek to push other local and state elected officials to follow suit by tagging them in images documenting flooding and seeking meetings, said Harriet Festing, who heads the group.

Members also plans to send lawmakers postcards showing a U.S. flag with its stripes replaced with an image of blue flood waters on which homes are reflected.

Higher Ground representatives said they were launching a campaign now because they sensed “a mass of … people who want to speak out”, including tens of thousands of its own individual members who have lost homes to floods.


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Family says Paul Manyasi not their son, sets record straight



A Kakamega family has denied the report by a British TV that its firstborn could be the person whose body fell from a plane in the United Kingdom.

The family has revealed to Standard Digital that their son was called Cedrick Shivanji and not Paul Manyasi as extensively reported by Sky TV yesterday.

“My brother could be alive and they got the names of my parents’ and village name wrong,” Brian Beti told Standard Digital.Sky TV’s John Sparks said the parents were called Paul Manyasi and Irene Manyasi. Brian says his parents are Isaack Beti and Janet Khakali.

“He last posted on Facebook in July yet the man they were reporting about fell from the plane on June 30,” Brian added.

Asked if the family had contacted their son, Brian says he often changed phone numbers and it was hard to get hold of him.“Someone has told dad that he was last seen at Kibera Law Courts,” Brian said, adding that his father was preparing to travel to Nairobi to authenticate the information.

Sky TV reported that Paul, who was 29, was a cleaner for Colnet company at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi.Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) yesterday denied that they could not get any individual named Paul Manyasi in the JKIA register.

The authority further clarified that any person working at the airport required an access pass, but that the name Manyasi could not be traced from the airport pass biometric register.Today, Colnet Limited Kenya also denied that they had such an employee in their records.

“Colnet is aware of the incident by way of fact that there were investigations carried out on the stowaway incident and the company has provided its employees’ record and information to the investigative authorities which confirm that there is no employee by the name Paul Manyasi,” the cleaning company said.

More to follow.


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Janet Wanja announces engagement to Italian boyfriend



Could the wedding bells be ringing for Kenyan volleyball star Janet Wanja?

The Kenya Pipeline setter on Tuesday took to Facebook and announced her engagement to Italian boyfriend Giulio Calauti.

This piece of news was received with excitement and congratulatory notes from her friends on Facebook with some asking when to expect her in a wedding gown.


Wanja has been dating Giulio for the past year or so and at some point, the Italian invited the Malkia Striker to Italy to visit his family.

And perhaps to show her commitment, Wanja appears to be learning some Italian going by the recent birthday message she posted to her better half.

“I thank God for blessing you yet another year to celebrate. My prayer is He keeps watching over you as He Always Has. Grazie mio cuore (thank you my heart) for always being there for me and loving me in waits I could never have imagined,” wrote Wanja.

The development provides a triple celebration for Wanja who recently helped the national women volleyball team win the African Games title in Morocco.

She also landed a lucrative endorsement deal with a betting company believed to be worth millions of shillings.

Janet Wanja.

by NN

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17th body found floating on Nairobi River during clean-up



A body of an infant has been found during the ongoing clean-up of Nairobi River in Korogocho area.

The discovery brings to 17 the number of bodies retrieved from the river since Governor Sonko launched the Nairobi River cleanup exercise early last year, according to Nairobi county government spokesman Elkana Jacob. So far, bodies of 13 infants and four adults have been retrieved from the river.

“Right now we are still in shock,” said Fredrick Okinda, chairman of Komb-Green Solutions, the organisation behind the clean-up. “One of us saw the floating baby and we rushed to save him as a team. We managed to recover him but he was already dead.”

This is the ninth baby his organisation has found in one section of the river in a few months. The team has buried the bodies in a makeshift grave next to the river.


Okinda believes that this was another aborted baby and has previously blamed illegal clinics for some of the bodies found.

In May, the clean-up crew found the body of an eight-year-old boy, just days after the bodies of twin babies were discovered in a plastic bag.

Abortions are illegal in Kenya, unless a woman’s life or health is in danger.

The news coincides with the first day of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which sees thousands of experts in sexual and reproductive health gather in Nairobi.

Some 6,000 people – including heads of state, government ministers and donors – will gather to discuss everything from sex education to maternal deaths and child marriage.

The event has come under fire from Christian groups who claim that it is promoting abortion and homosexuality in Kenya.

At a press conference on Monday, Saitoti Torome, Principal Secretary at the State Department of Planning, said authorities had been engaging with faith-based organisations to ensure that concerns were addressed.

“There is no attempt to push issues like homosexuality and abortion at this conference,” he said.

“This is a global summit, not a Kenya summit,” added Arthur Erken, UNFPA’s Director of Communications and Strategic Partnerships.

“This is an important issue for women and girls and that is why we cannot shy away from these difficult issues. What to do with it afterward is the sovereign right of every nation.”


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