Saturday night downpour leaves five dead, trail of destruction countrywide

Monday, December 2nd, 2019 00:00 |
A mother and her children wade through a flooded road in Malaa Shopping Centre in Machakos county yesterday. Photo/PD/Tabitha Mbatia

George Kebaso, David Ndolo and KNA

At least five people died in separate incidents following heavy rains on Saturday night, even as the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) warned that the wet season will persist until the end of the year.

The downpour also left a trail of destruction in many parts of the country.

In Mukuru, Nairobi, a man drowned in the raging floods while four others died in different parts of  Makueni county.

The man who died in Mukuru operated a butchery on the banks of Nairobi River. His  body is yet to be recovered.

In Makueni, two people died when the houses they were sleeping in collapsed following a landslide in Kilungu sub-county. They were identified as Jonnes Kioko, 24, of Kikoko village and 40-year-old Richard David of Kyalwe village.

A 30-year-old man drowned while trying to cross a swollen river in Mutithini village, Mbooni East sub-county. Nicholas Muthama was washed away by the waters of Kaatani river.

In the same area, a 15-year-old boy also drowned while trying to cross Kwasiowa river.

Impassable roads

Makueni County Commissioner Maalim Mohammed confirmed the incidents.

In Nairobi’s Kilimani area of Dagoretti North sub-county, flood waters fell walls on Likoni Lane off Dennis Pritt Road and poured into residential houses.

MP Shah and Aga Khan hospitals in upmarket Parklands were also flooded during the Saturday night rains. Images shared on social media showed staff using improvised methods to drain the flood water in one of the hospitals.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and his emergency rescue team visited the Aga Khan hospital after it sent a distress call following the downpour that left a large section of the busy Limuru Road impassable.

“Our disaster response team managed to respond to emergency cases especially at Aga Khan Hospital in Parklands where normalcy has been restored,” Sonko said.

In a statement, the hospital’s management thanked the governor for responding to the distress call. 

Most roads in the city were also flooded as the drainage system could not handle the huge deluge. 

Among the most affected areas were roads in Westlands, South C, Kilimani and Thika Road. Some residential and business premises were also marooned in water.

Sonko said some County hospitals were affected by the floods but the situation had been contained.

He blamed dumping in the drainage system for the flooding.

“We unclog these drainages on a daily basis but some of us who are indisciplined keep dumping garbage in the system making it impossible for rain water to flow freely,” Sonko said.

Social media platforms were awash with images and video clips showing motorists stranded on several roads in the city.

“The road section on Thika Super Highway between National Youth Service headquarters and Muthaiga Police Station is completely submerged after the overnight rains,” a commuter wrote on Facebook.

Kenya Railways also suspended commuter services to Imara, Syokimau, Rongai and Ngong after the line between Nairobi central business district and Syokimau were submerged in water.

At the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport travellers were drenched in the heavy rain as they were either being dropped off or picked up at the new wing.

Activist Boniface Mwangi and Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua accused the contractors of the airport’s new wing of doing a shoddy job and called for their prosecution.

“Whoever designed and those who built Jomo Kenyatta International Airport “new wing” deserve to be prosecuted and jailed,” Mwangi posted on Twitter.

In Taita Taveta county, property worth millions of shillings was destroyed after devastating floods swept through residential areas in the outskirts of Voi town.

Authorities reported that as a result of heavy rainfall in Taita Hills, Voi River broke its banks leading to flooding in several villages

Worst hit areas include Tanzania, Mwingoni, Msambweni and Ghaza. 

No fatalities were reported although dozens of domestic animals including goats, dogs, cats and chicken drowned in several homes.

Raging water

Speaking to KNA on Sunday, area Assistant Chief Nkurumah Shaaban said rescue operations started at 2am in the morning after distress calls were received.

“We have moved the affected to safer areas but we continue to monitor the situation,” he said.

In Tanzania, dozens of houses collapsed and rescue teams used ropes to pull out trapped families from the rubble.

In Msambweni, the floods swept through residential homes leaving a trail of destruction. Concrete fences were brought down by the raging water while vehicles submerged.

 In the monthly forecast released yesterday, KMD said rains in several parts of the country will be above normal.

“Episodes of heavy rain are likely to continue being experienced in several parts of the country during the period,” Met said in its statement.

For the next four days, the rains are expected to increase in intensity in several parts of the country. 

Among the counties expected to receive heavy rains are Siaya Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, and Nyamira.

Others are Trans Nzoia, Baringo, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi, Nakuru, Narok, Kericho and Bomet counties.

“Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma and Busia counties will also witness heavy rainfall in the next four days,” KMD said in its latest weather report.

In the South Eastern lowlands region, Machakos, Makueni, Kitui, Taita Taveta and Kajiado will also receive rains, while in the Coast region, rains are expected in Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi, Lamu and Tana River.

The Meteorological department attributed heavy rains to sea surface temperatures anomalies in the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific oceans. 

KMD has warned members of the public to avoid driving through or walking in moving water. 

 It also cautioned people against walking on open fields, sheltering under trees and near grilled windows to minimise exposure to lightning strikes.

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