Raging floods wreak havoc, landslides spread misery

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020 00:00 |
Houses submerged in floods at Kamiti Anmer village, Ting’ang’a Ward in Kiambu. At least 10 families were displaced by the floods. Photo/PD/Mathew Ndung’u

Heavy rains continue to wreak havoc across the country, with many areas experiencing flooding, landslides and displacement of people.

The floods have left a trail of deaths and destruction of property and crops.

In Kisii county, more than 300 families have been rendered homeless after floods and landslides destroyed their homes.

Members of County Assembly Charles Nyagoto (Bogeka Ward), Timothy Ogugu (Magenche) and Paul Angwenyi (Sensi), said the rains had forced residents to seek shelter in schools and shopping centres.

One hundred households at Riotoigo trading centre along Kisii-Oyugis road were displaced when their houses were flooded and some destroyed. Another 50 households were also affected at Ititi trading centre.

Forcible relocation

“Houses, pit latrines, farms and streams are flooded. There are fears of waterborne diseases outbreak,” Nyagoto said.

Angwenyi said 150 households have been displaced at Nyaboitene village.

He said houses were submerged while crops and trees were destroyed, and that victims were staying at Nyabworoba Secondary School. He urged the government to support them.

“Residents have moved to safer grounds but they are hungry,” Angwenyi told People Daily.

In Busia, Budalang’i MP Raphael Wanjala said the government may use force to evacuate families who have refused to move from flooded areas following the overflow of Lake Victoria and Nzoia River.

Wanjala said despite the national and Busia county governments evacuating more than 10,000 families who have been displaced by floods, some had refused to leave the area.

He said hundreds of people in Bunyala sub-county were moved to higher grounds at the weekend due to floods.

Western Regional County Commissioner Anne Ng’etich asked families living in flood-prone areas to move to safer grounds.

Ng’etich said three boats were being used to evacuate families displaced by water from Nzoia River whose banks have burst.

Speaking after assessing the evacuation process at Budalang’i High School, Ng’etich said the government would ensure no life was lost to floods and coronavirus.

“Our priority is to evacuate those who have been displaced,” she said, adding that more lorries had been mobilised from other counties in the region to help in the evacuation.

In Vihiga, County Director of Metereology Godfrey Omusonga said most parts of the county would continue to experience heavy rainfall for the next two weeks and asked residents of Hamisi and Luanda sub-counties to be on high alert.

“Cracks in the soil is one of the most visible signs of a looming mudslide,” Omusonga said.

He warned members of public against walking in the rains to avoid being struck by lightning or getting swept away by floods.

“People should avoid sheltering under trees and leaning against grilled windows and doors when it is raining to avoid being struck by lightning,” added Omusonga.

In Kirinyaga, Kangai Ward MCA John Gitari called for the relocation of people living in swampy areas of Marura and Kamairungi.

The MCA said the government must provide a lasting solution to the flooding in the area.

Gitari said more than 1,500 people affected by the floods in the two villages were living in deplorable conditions.

“Just as the government is resettling people in the Coast region, we also want our people relocated from this swampy area,” he said

Rice crop

Gitari said many of the villages set aside for the rice farmers in Mwea were overpopulated and some people had resorted to building homes in the rice fields.

Area chief Jeremiah Njoka said dykes built by the National Irrigation Board had managed to keep the water away until recently when they were eroded and gave way to flood waters.

He said Marura area, previously referred to as Nguka swamp, was not meant for human settlement.

Njoka said many of the flood victims had lost their rice crop after it was submerged in flood water.

He said over 2,000 people had been affected by the floods in Kangai Ward.

In Bondo, a middle-aged man escaped death narrowly after his house collapsed at Sirongo Beach following a downpour.

According to the chairman of Sirongo Beach William Okelo, the man who was identified as Dominick Were, was inside the house when it collapsed.

The beach management chair said the man sustained severe injuries and was rushed to Uyawi health centre where he is admitted. —KNA

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