Kenyan Man Builds Treehouse to Escape Devastating Lake Victoria Floods

Joseph Nyikal, a 69-year-old Kenyan, built a treehouse in his flooded compound after his home was destroyed. He has been living in the treehouse for a year, despite initial resistance from family and community members.

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Kenyan Man Builds Treehouse to Escape Devastating Lake Victoria Floods

Kenyan Man Builds Treehouse to Escape Devastating Lake Victoria Floods

Joseph Nyikal, a 69-year-old resident of Kisumu County, Kenya, has taken a unique approach to surviving the frequent floods that have displaced over 40,000 households in the region since March. Nyikal has built a treehouse made of wood and iron sheets, perched atop a tree in his flooded compound, which he now calls home.

Why this matters: The story highlights the urgent need for sustainable housing solutions and community support in flood-prone areas, as climate change continues to intensify and displace vulnerable communities. It also underscores the importance of developing long-term strategies to protect these communities and ensure their safety and well-being.

The treehouse has been Nyikal's abode for the past year, after his previous home was destroyed and submerged in water. "I was not going to transfer the remaining few items anywhere, instead I opted to build a house on top of the tree and keep them safe within my flooded compound that I now call home," Nyikal explained.

Despite initial resistance from his family and community members who feared for his safety, Nyikal persevered with his plan. "When I ventured into the plan, my family and community members resisted the idea, fearing that I would fall off the tree and get injured or drown, but the house is standing still to date," he said.

The floods, which are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change, are an annual event in the low-lying regions around Lake Victoria. The Kano plains in Nyando and Kadibo Sub Counties in Kisumu County are the worst affected areas. Nyikal's treehouse cost around Sh8,000 to build, using locally available materials like nails, hardwood, and mabati. The house has a wooden foundation, corrugated iron sheet walls and roofing, and is supported by two adjacent trees in his marooned compound.

Nyikal has even connected the treehouse to the electricity grid, ensuring it is powered day and night. However, he still faces immense challenges. "I don't have any source of income and I'm unable to provide for the basic needs for my family. We are adrift in a sea of uncertainty, our hopes dashed by forces beyond our control," Nyikal lamented.

Local authorities have expressed concern over Nyikal's living situation. Michael Buodoh, Chief of Kawino South Location, stated, "When we visited his residence, we emphasized that humans cannot live like birds perched atop trees." The floods have not only displaced thousands of households but also damaged livelihoods, posed a great threat to food security, and affected infrastructure in the region.

Joseph Nyikal's story serves as a testament to the resilience and resourcefulness of individuals in the face of climate crises, but also underscores the urgent need for sustainable housing solutions and community support in flood-prone areas around Lake Victoria. As the impacts of climate change continue to intensify, it is crucial that authorities and stakeholders work together to develop and implement long-term strategies to protect vulnerable communities and ensure their safety and well-being.

Key Takeaways

  • 69-year-old Joseph Nyikal builds treehouse in flooded compound in Kisumu County, Kenya.
  • Floods have displaced over 40,000 households in the region since March.
  • Nyikal's treehouse cost Sh8,000 to build using locally available materials.
  • Floods are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change.
  • Authorities express concern over Nyikal's living situation, highlighting need for sustainable housing solutions.