Raging floods leave over 800 people homeless

Tuesday May 3 2016

Mr Gitau Kamau contemplates his next move after his home in Thindigua village, Kiambu County, was flooded following heavy rains. In Nairobi, Governor Evans Kidero blamed the poor drainage for the flooding in several estates. PHOTO | ERIC WAINAINA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Gitau Kamau contemplates his next move after his home in Thindigua village, Kiambu County, was flooded following heavy rains. In Nairobi, Governor Evans Kidero blamed poor drainage for the flooding in several estates. PHOTO | ERIC WAINAINA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By NATION TEAM
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More than 800 people were displaced from their homes by raging floods as heavy rains continued to fall across the country.

The national and county governments stepped in to control the damage, with the meteorological department predicting another week of heavy rains.

In Nairobi, Governor Evans Kidero blamed poor drainage for the flooding in several estates, days after a building collapsed in Huruma, killing 23 and leaving hundreds injured.

“Indiscriminate disposal of solid waste consisting of excavated soils, construction debris and garbage onto water courses, road reserves and sewerage system restricting the proper functioning of the system,” he said.

The seepage zone in Nairobi has been depleted due to increased urban roof and impervious ground cover not matched by an increase in the capacity of the drainage system.

“Physical developments in the city have preceded the development of supporting infrastructure such as roads and drainage,” Dr Kidero said.

In Turkana, more than 600 households have been displaced, with two more people killed.

Turkana Central police boss Joel Kirui said the two were trying to cross the Kawalase bridge, which burst its banks on Wednesday night.

Three elderly women who disappeared last week in Kalokol on the shores of Lake Turkana were presumed dead as efforts to rescue them turned futile after Napasinyan river burst its banks.

A boda boda operator who was trying to cross the Kawalase river was also killed by the floods, bringing the death toll in Turlana to six.

At the Marich pass, on the Kitale- Lodwar highway, villagers have been forced to create a diversion after the seasonal river destroyed the road, leaving passengers stuck.

The villagers charge Sh500 per vehicle.

LOSS OF LIVES
Police have warned residents and motorists against trying to cross bridges while water volumes are still high.

“We will be forced to deploy police at critical bridges to prevent further loss of lives that occur when individuals try to cross on their own,” Mr Kirui said.

In Tiaty Sub-County, heavy downpours have rendered many roads impassable after the Kamisino river broke its banks.

The worst hit is Tirioko ward, which has been completely cut off from the rest of the sub-county and the neighbouring West Pokot County, where locals usually get their food supplies.

“The government and other relevant agencies should move in swiftly and repair the bridge, which is on the verge of being swept off. Many of our people risk starvation,” Tirioko MCA Stephen Maklap said.

In Uasin-Gishu County, more than 30 families have been displaced in Kimumu estate. Some families have started fleeing the area.

In Siaya and Kakamega, at least 200 families have been displaced.

“Heavy rains have pounded the area for the past one week; this has led to the collapse of houses and destruction of crops,” said Robert Asoyo, a victim in West Yimbo.

In Kakamega, 34 families in Namulungu, Matungu constituency, lost their homes to the floods.

And 11 people in Marsabit escaped death after the vehicles they were travelling in were swept away by raging floods in two separate incidents.

More than 17 families from Kwa Rhonda estate in Nakuru, who were displaced by floods, appealed to the county government to stop future flooding.

Kenya Red Cross branch coordinator James Gichimu said 74 more households in Mwariki estate had been affected by the floods.

Report by Lilian Mutavi, Sammy Lutta, Wycliff Kipsang, Nelcon Odhiambo, Kennedy Okwach, Johnson Keti, Magdalene Wanja and Ken Bett