Floods leave more than 230 dead, thousands displaced

Thursday, May 14th, 2020 00:00 |
A matatu tackles a flooded section of Bamburi-Utange Road in Mombasa county after a heavy downpour on Monday. Photo/PD/NDEGWA GATHUNGU

At least 237 people have died in the ongoing floods across the country and 161,000 families displaced since the rains started last month. The number of those who have died stood at 194 last week.

Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa warned that the situation could even get worse and urged Kenyans, especially those in flood-prone areas to move to safer grounds.

He cited the worst affected areas as around Lake Victoria, Lake Naivasha, Tana River, Nzoia River and parts of Central Kenya along tributaries that flow into Tana River from the Aberdares.

 Garissa and Mandera have been also severely affected by the floods.

“With the rain still going on, our dams are still filling up and we expect more will be affected. We urge Kenyans in flood-prone areas in landslide areas to move to safer grounds,” he said.

 Wamalwa also promised those affected of relief food, which would be distributed in coordination with security forces.

 “We are visiting all the affected areas such as Lake Naivasha but the worst affected is around Lake Victoria.

We are assisting those affected with food and clean water and other basic necessities,” he said.

 The CS also noted that some unscrupulous individuals had taken advantage of relief food for the needy for their benefit.

 “I want to issue a warning to our unscrupulous officials either of the county government or national government who are mishandling the food that anyone found diverting food that has been given to the needy will face the full force of the law,” he said.

 Environment CS Keriako Tobiko said: “Nature is unforgiving, we have cleared off forests from escarpments, and we have grabbed public utility plots. We should blame ourselves for the pandemics.

But all is not lost, we can still take advantage of the rain and plant more trees,” he said.

 The Kenya Meteorological Department projects that the rains will continue in most parts of the country until June.

This week, rains are expected to continue in some parts of the country while others are likely to record reduced rainfall.

Wamalwa and Tobiko also visited Kihoto estate Naivasha where close to 2,000 families have been displaced.

“As of today 33 counties have been affected by the rains while a total of 237 people have died, up from 194 cases last week,” he said.

The CS identified Lakes Victoria and Naivasha as having risen to highest levels ever leaving hundreds of families displaced.

“The country is already suffering from Covid-19, locusts invasion and now floods and we are asking donors to come to the rescue of affected families,” he said.

The CS said 1,860 families in Kihoto estate in Naivasha had been displaced by floods, majority being flower farm workers who had been laid off due to Covid-19.

Meanwhile, the effects of the floods continued to be felt across the country with transport between Kiariani-Kangema road, which connects Mathoiya and Kangema sub-counties in Murang’a paralysed after a landslide affected a section of the road.

One side of the road at Kanjama area sank following heavy rains, which have been pounding parts of the county forcing motorists to use on only lane. 

The section of the road was constructed in August last year and opened for use in January but disaster struck on Monday night.

Murang’a county commissioner, Mohammed Barre asked motorists to be extra careful when approaching the section.

He said Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) spent Sh176 million to repair the same section of the road after another landslide in May 2018.

  Bare has urged the government through the ministry of environment to have a Geotechnical survey done in the area. 

The county commissioner said most parts of the county had developed huge cracks, a precursor to landslides. 

He said with several landslides reported in the area, there was looming disaster, which could affect hundreds of residents. 

Meanwhile, a woman who got partially buried in debris when her house caved in following heavy down pour in Rachuonyo Sub County has died.

Monica Auma, 48, sustained injuries on her head, neck and back when the house collapsed on her.

Area Deputy county commissioner Ibrahim Hassan, said her 7 year-old son Braving Ouma Otieno also sustained injuries on his head and mouth but he has since been discharged from hospital.

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