Three drown as death toll surges to 66

Monday May 21 2012

Photo|ROBERT NYAGAH|NATION  Malinid residents carrying their goats after their homes were marooned by floods on May 9, 2012.

Photo|ROBERT NYAGAH|NATION Malinid residents carrying their goats after their homes were marooned by floods on May 9, 2012. The UN report says this year has also recorded the highest number of fatalities and damage caused by floods in the past five years with 65 fatalities reported.  

By NATION TEAM [email protected]

Two pupils and a man have drowned as an aid agency released figures showing that 66 people have been killed by raging floods in Kenya.

The three were trying to cross a river on Sunday evening at different makeshift bridges when they were swept away by flash floods.

According to villagers, the man was crossing from Nyamecheo towards Keombe, Kisii County on a makeshift bridge when he slipped into the river and drowned.

The two pupils of Amatagaro Primary School were sent by their mother to collect milk from their grandmother’s home.

However, they failed to return home that evening and their parents thought they had slept at their grandmother’s .

However, passers-by stumbled upon the body of a 12-year old girl under a wooden bridge. They raised an alarm, prompting a search.

Accounts from villagers revealed that the children were seen on Sunday afternoon sheltering at a shopping centre near their home but when the rains failed to subside, they decided to walk home.

They are believed to have been swept away by floods as they tried to cross the stream. Police from Ogembo division and the Kenyenya DC Kaburu Kaimba, joined the rescue team.

“We are at the scene trying to search for the third body which is believed to be stuck under a blocked culvert,” said Mr Kaimba.

In Kisumu, the body of a woman who was swept into river Ulamu in Nyahera, four days ago has yet to be retrieved.

By last week, 66 lives had been lost to floods and mud slides since the rains started in the middle of April while an estimated 280,670 people have been negatively affected.

Separate reports by Kenya Red Cross Society and the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, say the worst affected areas are Nyanza, Rift Valley, parts of the greater Nairobi metropolitan area and some regions in Coast Province. Central has mainly been hit by mudslides.

UN report

The UN report says this year has also recorded the highest number of fatalities and damage caused by floods in the past five years with 65 fatalities reported. A total of 55 deaths were recorded in 2008.

“A total of 92,000 people were affected by floods in 2011,” says the UN report.

But a more updated report by the Red Cross indicates that 66 people have so far been killed by floods or landslides and about 100,000 people displaced majority in Nyanza and the Rift Valley. (READ: Effects of drought persist as floods continue)