Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Floods, landslides claim 32 lives

A section of the Naivasha-Nairobi highway that was damaged by flash floods at Kayole Bridge. Roads Permanent Secretary Engineer Michael Kamau who toured the scene said the government has set aside Sh500 million emergency funds to be used in repairing damaged roads across the country. Photo/MACHARIA MWANGI.

A section of the Naivasha-Nairobi highway at Kayole Bridge that was damaged by floods Tuesday. Thousands of vehicles had to be redirected from the Nairobi-Nakuru highway. Photo/MACHARIA MWANGI 

By NATION TEAM newsdesk@ke.nationmedia.com

At least 32 people have died and another six are missing as a result of floods and landslides in parts of the country.

The Kenya Red Cross also reported that 18,633 people have been displaced while another 14 injured since the heavy rains began late last month.

Rift Valley leads in the number of fatalities with 10 dead followed by Lower Eastern which has recorded eight deaths. Lower Eastern includes Nairobi.

Upper Eastern and Coast have each recorded five fatalities while central and western Kenya have each recorded two deaths.

A majority of the displaced are in Coast where 7,478 people mostly from Tana River have fled their homes. Upper Eastern, which also has the highest number of missing people at three, has the second highest number of displaced people with 6,382.

An estimated 200 families in Nyora and another 180 in Kabuto villages in Migori County were displaced on Monday after the River Kuja burst its banks.

Western Kenya continues to witness flash floods with several villages becoming marooned.

In Upper Eastern roads, especially in Moyale and Marsabit, are impassable.

A Land Cruiser with eight people was swept away in Kargi, 24km from Marsabit town. Five bodies were recovered and three are missing.

The government has also warned motorists using the Nairobi-Nakuru highway of a damaged section at Kayole bridge near Naivasha.

Government spokesman Muthui Kariuki said water from the Aberdares and Kinagop Hills had caused flash floods.

Last night the weatherman warned there might be no respite from the floods until next Monday.

Kenya Meteorological Department official Ayub Shaka said areas like Homa Bay, Kisumu and Migori counties were expected to have even heavier rains from tomorrow, worsening residents’ misery. “We advise those who have sought shelter elsewhere to remain there,” he said.

In Nyanza, more than 500 residents of Nyakach and Kendu Bay joined more than 4,000 displaced people after floods hit the area on Tuesday.

About 300 people in Nyakach lost property worth thousands of shillings while more than 50 livestock were buried alive.

“My house is submerged; my kitchen and toilets were swept away. I am at a friend’s,” Ms Rosemary Maina said.

Kenya Red Cross official Emmanuel Owako said 50 houses had been destroyed.

In Athi River District of Machakos County, hundreds of passengers were yesterday stranded on either side of Mto Wa Mawe in Kinani after it burst its banks.

Eighteen vehicles, including school buses, waited on both sides of the river for the water to subside following heavy rains in Kajiado County.

New Mavoko MP Patrick Makau was among those stranded and was unable to travel to his Kinani rural home.

In Solai in Rongai constituency, a man drowned yesterday, bringing the number in the area to three.

A resident said the man drowned in a stream at 9pm on Tuesday night.

In North Rift, several families were displaced and hundreds of acres of crops submerged.

Families in areas prone to mudslides such as Kerio Valley have appealed for relief supplies and shelter in safer areas.

Residents of West Pokot, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Turkana and Baringo counties cannot reach markets to buy basic commodities as several roads were damaged.

Reported by Peter Obuya, Anne Macharia, Barnabas Bii, David Thiong’o, Lilian Ochieng’, Noah Cheploen and Ponciano Odongo

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