One dead, scores injured as rains leave destruction trail

Monday, May 18th, 2020 00:00 |
A section of the line, which is at the border of Nakuru and Kiambu counties was swept off by floods disrupting operations on the Nairobi-Nakuru route. Photo/PD/KIRERA MWITI

Floods continued to wreak havoc cross the country, leaving a trail of destruction and thousands of families displaced.

In Naivasha, one person died and eight others seriously injured following a landslide in Kijabe area following heavy rains pounding the area.

The team was repairing a section of the Metre Gauge Railway line and restore cargo operations disrupted over a week ago when the section was washed away following heavy rains as well as posing danger to the community around.

The injured workers were taken to hospital and five have since been discharged while three are still being observed.

The Kenya Railways Managing Director Philip Mainga led a team of engineers to the area to evaluate the extent of the damage.

“Our hearts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of the staff who lost his life during the operation, and we wish a quick recovery to all the affected staff”, Mainga said. 

The deceased James Thuo had been hired to work on the damaged section. 

 “There is total negligence from the part of Kenya Railways and the engineer for working against set time and this has led to the death of my brother,” said Naivasha East MCA Stanley Karanja.

The section, which borders Nakuru and Kiambu counties, was swept off by floods cutting off operations between the Nairobi-Nakuru route.

 In Tana River more than 7,000 residents of Kipini West in Tana Delta sub-county have been rendered homeless after floods marooned their homes.

Some of the households have completely been swept away leaving the locals with nowhere to live as the disaster hits the area.

Areas worst affected include Mwanja, Odhole, Samicha, Kikomo and Handaraku, which are completely marooned and therefore not accessible by road.

Journalists who toured the area by boat came face to face with the disaster as people were stranded and were unable to move to safer grounds due to the floods.

Locals said only 4,000 residents relocated to Marafa area and still have nowhere to stay.

The remaining 3,000 cannot move to safety and have been forced to stay within the flooded village with their young children and women, which puts them at a high risk of contaminating waterborne diseases.

At Mwanja village the entire homestead has turned into a lake and there are no higher grounds for the locals to shelter, they have to scramble within the little space, which is dry for them to survive.

The victims returned to their homes three months ago after the previous floods and were yet to settle down when another disaster struck.

Haji Dube a headman of Mwanja said his village has 131 households and those who made it moved to Darga Maarafa IDP camp for safety but many cannot move due to the distance and high water levels as well as crocodiles, hippos, and snakes.

Speaking at the village, he said only a few have been left at the village with many problems of hunger and famine.

He said there are 15 houses, which were swept away together with sheep, goats chickens and cattle and have no support.

“This area can only be accessed by boat and air or on foot, this place is remote and there has been no relief support, we need food, mosquito nets, drugs, tents, now we are fasting problems are many,’’ he said.

Dube said they have not received any support from the government both national and county despite the fact that governor Dhadho Godhana and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa toured the county with choppers.

Abdulkhadhir Abdulahi Gobu a resident of Mwanja said despite the Covid-19 pandemic residents have been highly affected by the flood menace, which has affected the livelihoods of men and women.

He called on the county and national government and well wishers to assist the families who are in dire need of relief support.

“Our roads are not accessible because of the heavy rains, those who can access this area are those with choppers and boats, people from our area do not have those facilities,’’ he said and asked the government to supply food and non-food items, together with medical support.

Musa Wario, the Kipini West Ward MCA, said the community has suffered for many years due to the disaster. He said from Mwanja the highest ground is 10 kilometers away at an area called Marafa, which can only be accessed by boat as the river is flooded.

Elsewhere, leaders in Tana River have urged the government to fast track Sh1.5 billion for funding of the almost sinking Majengo-Masalani Bridge.

The bridge falls part of a Lapsset Project worth Sh76 billion that seeks to connect the northeastern corridor to the coast in efforts to enhance trade between the two regions.

Speaking to journalists in Majengo, the leaders expressed gratitude for President Kenyatta’s kind gesture but urged the State department for roads to move with speed and the work.

According to Galole MP Said Hiribae, further delays only gave room for further damage to the historical bridge currently at the brink of sinking.

Bura legislator Ali Wario said a similar problem was facing the bridge linking Bura and Ijara constituencies that also is at the brink of collapsing.

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