Over 15 counties put on high alert as floods kill one more

Monday, April 27th, 2020 00:00 |
Alice Nyeri prepares food in the open after her house was destroyed by landslide following a down pour at Chesogon trading centre at the border of Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot counties. Photo/PD/JIMMY GITAKA

One more person died in yesterday, taking the national figure to 27, while thousands of others were displaced as heavy rains continued pounding various parts of the country—leaving a trail of destruction—with authorities now warning people living in “risky” areas to relocate. 

By yesterday evening, more than 15 counties were on high alert after flash floods submerged hundreds of homes and rendered some major roads impassable even as details emerged of how Vincent Otieno, 25, met his death in Lake Victoria.

Suba South Beach Management Unit (BMU) chairperson William Onditi said  the deceased was fishing in the company of three colleagues when they encountered heavy rains and strong winds near Kinda beach.

The floods menace would not have come at a worse time with the country battling the deadly coronavirus which has forced the government to issue 7pm to 5am curfew among other directives.

More than 20 people are still missing following last week’s landslide that rocked Chesogon village on the border of West Pokot and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties. At least 13 bodies have been retrieved so far. 

Safety concern

In Nyando, flash floods continued to wreak havoc in Kakola-Ombaka location amid safety concerns in IDP camps in the wake of coronavirus, compelling the government to issue social distancing directives.

Kakola-Ombaka sub-location assistant chief Jacob Ongudi said more than 400 households are camping at St John Nyamasao Primary School, Ombaka Primary School and Ombaka Catholic Church.

“The flood victims may suffer from hunger because the little food donations they received is almost running out.

We also need immediate supply of hand washing kits and sanitisers to achieve the government’s measures on hygiene,” said Ongundi.

About 18,000 people have been affected by the torrents in Nyando sub-county after River Nyando burst its banks. 

More than 60 families living on Remba Island of Suba North, Homa Bay county, have been displaced after their houses were submerged by rising water from Lake Victoria.

County Agriculture and Fisheries Executive Aguko Juma and County Beach Management Unit (BMU) chairman Edward Oremo said a number of fishermen have abandoned fishing due to the effect of rising water levels at Lake Victoria.

More than 1,000 families have been affected in Busagwa, Rukala and Ndekwe villages in Bunyala South Ward, Bunyala sub-county.

In Tana River county, hundreds of families living in low areas have been asked to move to safer grounds as River Sabaki threatened to break its banks. Kenya Red Cross Society Coast regional manager Hassan Musa says Sabaki and Tana River could break its banks anytime.

Issue alert

Apart from Tana River, Kilifi, Kwale and Taita Taveta counties could also be affected by the floods. Consequently, Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi has issued an alert and directed people living along  river banks to move to higher grounds to avoid more loss of lives and properties.

Another group of about 300 families living on both sides of the giant river Tana that are prone to floods in Garissa are back to displacement camps barely three months after they returned to their homes.

The most affected areas are Ziwani, Bakuyu, Bulla Sheikh, Widsor and Mororo in Tana River County.

The victims are camped at ATC grounds, Kazuku Primary School, Young Muslim and those from Mororo have taken shelter along the Garissa-Nairobi highway.

Bura MP Ali Wario called on school managements to allow flood victims to take refuge in their learning institutions to allow for social distancing noting that the displacement camps could turn out to be a fertile ground for the virus to spread.

Travelers from Masalani to Garissa were stranded as  buses suspended operations following the heavy rains that started two days ago.

Ijara Deputy County Commissioner  Samuel Towett called on residents to move to higher ground to avoid the floods adding the government is trying to cope up with the situation.

Locals in Kajiado were also grappling with a similar situation after several homes in Shompole and Pakase areas of Kajiado West were marooned.

The rains, which started pounding the area on Thursday night left houses marooned in water and property destroyed with many families forced to spend the night in the cold.

 In Kajiado North, residents of Ongata Rongai have appealed to the County Government to complete the construction of Olekesasi Bridge which had previously claimed the lives of more than 10 residents over the years.

Elsewhere the road connecting Kajiado town to Loitokitok through Mashuuru has been cut off completely after Imaroro River burst its banks. 

Motorists were forced to spend the night in their vehicles over the weekend as they waited for the water to subside with others opting to turn back as the bridge was impassable.

In Naivasha, tens of former workers of Karuturi flower farms were left homeless after their houses flooded while in Gilgil residents of Ngomongo estate were forced to relocate due to the floods.

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