Floods render scores homeless in 24 counties

Monday, May 4th, 2020 00:00 |
Residents of Mwariki estate in Nakuru town west try to salvage their household goods after their houses were submerged in floods on Saturday night. Photo/PD/RAPHAEL MUNGE

Fears were growing yesterday that the flood menace being witnessed in the country could cause a humanitarian crisis as the search for one of the seven policemen who died in Baringo entered its fourth day.

Yesterday, tens of thousands of people continued to be displaced by raging floods both in the urban and rural areas—transcending more than 24 counties—even as heavy rains continued to pound various parts of the country.

In Baringo county, the search for the missing policeman was called off after it started raining at around 1pm.

The seven officers met their fate while returning to their station in Chemoe, Baringo North after attending a security meeting in Kabarnet.

Rift Valley Regional Police Commander Marcus Ochola said the officers had disembarked after their truck developed a mechanical problem as they attempted to cross seasonal Kagir River, they were swept away.

Last week, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa said some 116 people had been killed and over 100,000 families displaced in flood and landslide- related cases since the current rains started in March. 

Meanwhile, the search for four men who drowned in the swollen River Athi has started bearing fruit after the rescuers managed to retrieve two bodies yesterday afternoon.

The four were in the company of two others who managed to swim to safety.

They drowned last Tuesday after their boat capsised as they crossed the river, which burst its banks in Ngoliba, Thika East.

The two bodies were retrieved, about 500 metres from where their boat capsised, by local and Kiambu County divers in collaboration with fire brigades.

In Ugenya, victims of river Nzoia floods are accusing local leaders of discriminating against them in distributing relief supplies. 

Meanwhile, Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula has called on the government to urgently look into the flood menace saying the floods had rendered many Kenyans homeless and that many families were suffering in the cold.

Speaking when he visited some of the victims in the county, the Ford Kenya party leader, asked the government to move with speed and provide relief food to affected families.

“As the government battles with Covid-19 it should not forget to assist flood victims who are in need of basic needs’’ said Wetang’ula.

Several families have also been displaced by floods at Rhonda Ward in the outskirts of Nakuru town following heavy rains in the weekend.

Residents of Shabaab woke up to find  a key road in the area near Koinange Primary School had caved in.

A truck driver who was ferrying bread escaped unhurt after the vehicle got stuck in the depression. Authorities have attributed it to an existing fault line. 

This is even as Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui asked people living around Lake Nakuru and Naivasha to be on the lookout after the volume of water in the two lakes rose to unprecedented levels.

Kinyanjui attributed the phenomenon to the heavy rains being witnessed in the Mau region and Bahati escarpment.

“With the ongoing rains and current water levels, we have issued a high alert to people living near Lake Nakuru especially near Barut area,” he said.

And in Uasin Gishu county, more than 3,000 residents in Kaptebee village in Turbo constituency, are living in fear following mudslides caused by the ongoing heavy rains.

The residents said massive boulders fell from the hills destabilising the water-socked soils already weakened by the rains.

“The rocks on the hillside cracked and started falling towards people’s homesteads below.

Water crevices also formed and drained towards the settlements causing fear of imminent landslide,” said the area MP Janet Sitenei.

Additionally, hundreds of families in Malindi and Magarini constituencies of Kilifi county have lost their homes and crops after River Sabaki burst its banks. 

In Homa Bay, several families have fled their homes in Wang’ Chieng’ location as floods continue to wreak havoc. 

By Saturday, families from more than 300 households from Konyango, Komenya, Kawuor Agindo and Kasirawa villages had moved to schools and churches after their houses were either marooned.

Complete project

Elsewhere, Alego/Usonga MP Samuel Atandi has asked the government to prioritise the completion of Sh5 billion lower Nzoia Irrigation project to end perennial flooding along the banks of River Nzoia.

Atandi has, at the same time, called on the county government through its department of health to avail malarial drugs and ensure any infected persons in the camp are treated immediately. He said more than 5,000 people have been displaced in the area.

Meanwhile, the flood menace has opened a land tussle between the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) and Kogony clan.

Flood waters have rendered all roads leading to Usoma village impassable save for one road which KAA has since closed. 

Community elders Chrisantus Sideng, Jack Oraro, Nashon Osir and Ernest Orwa filed a motion before the Environment and Land Court seeking to have KAA forced to open the road.

And in Migori county, thousands of residents who have been displaced by floods have called on the government and well-wishers to step in saying they risk dying of hunger and waterborne diseases. - Reporting: Noah Cheploen, Mathew Ndung’u, Eric Juma, Monica Kagia, Viola Kosome, Kirera Mwiti, Tom Rachuonyo, Yusuf Masibo and KNA

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