More perish as floods, lanslides wreak havoc

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019 00:00 |
Residents of Ombaka Kakola area in Nyando sub-county had to use a boat to move around after their homes were flooded. Photo/PD/DANIEL OGENDO

The raging floods occasioned by heavy rains continue to cause death and destruction in many parts of the country.

Deaths are estimated to have risen to more than 100, while 200,000 people have been displaced. The death toll rose at the weekend following torrential rains in most parts of the country.

West Pokot county leads in fatalities with about 55 people, including those who died in a series of landslides, having lost their lives since the rains started more than a week ago.

In Taita Taveta county’s Mbale area, four people are reported to have drowned in flood waters over the weekend, with about 300 families rendered homeless. 

Worst hit are parts of Voi sub-county where 232 families were displaced when Voi river broke its banks.

Kenya Red Cross Coast region manager Hassan Musa said  more than 300 families living in two camps were in urgent need of humanitarian aid.

“In Voi, we have 232 families affected. Areas of Tanzania and Msambweni have been worst hit. In Wundanyi more than 36 families have been affected while in Kimala area of Taveta 33 families have been affected,” said Musa.

In Makueni county, three people died in Kilungu ward following a landslide that also displaced 100 families.

Affected villages include Katulye, Nditikwa, Kyalui and Kyatuku whose residents have sought refuge at Tusunini, Katulye and St Theresa secondary and primary schools.

A house marooned by floods in Voi, Taita Taveta county, following heavy rains on Sunday night. PD/Ndegwa Gathungu

Residents said that although they had been praying for rains, they had turned into a curse.

Florence Mueke, the mother to 40-year-old Richard Musyimi who died in the landslide, described her son as a pillar of the family. 

Raging waters

“We have accepted God’s will,” she said.

Makueni County Commissioner Mohammed Maalim said 10 people have so far died following heavy rains in area. He said most of the victims drowned as they attempted to cross flooded rivers.

At the weekend, three men Mutuku Tila, Mutei Kiambi and Muinde Kasuu were marooned by flood waters on Saturday when raging waters broke the river’s banks.

In Nyando, Kisumu county, at least 500 people have been displaced by floods after River Nyando broke its banks.

A spot check by People Daily yesterday indicated that several houses were marooned as locals counted huge losses.

While some managed to salvage livestock and a few household items using boats, others lost everything in the floods.

The most hit areas are Kanyipola and Kasambura-Kamahawa in Kakola-Ombaka location.  Anne Atieno said she lost her chicken and crops in the floods.

“All my chicken and crops have been swept away,” she said.

Residents asked the county and national governments to construct dykes to control perennial floods.

“The government should intervene,” said Joseph Ogola, a resident.

Meanwhile, the Kenya Police Airwing has deployed five helicopters to rescue victims of floods as heavy rains and overflows continue to ravage various parts of the country.

On Sunday, the airwing rescued three victims of floods who had been marooned by floods.

“We rescued one person in 14 Falls in Kilimambogo, Thika and two in Makueni,” Colonel (Rtd) Rodgers Mbithi, the Kenya Police Airwing boss, told the media.

United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund has pledged three million US dollars (Sh300 million) to assist people affected by floods.

Last week, the government said Sh1 billion would be required to resettle people displaced by floods and landslides.

The Kenya Meteorological Department has predicted that the rains will not only persist but increase in intensity.

—Reporting by Alvin Mwangi, Rueben Mwambingu, Mutuku Mwangangi and Noven Owiti

More on National