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3 killed in canoe mishap as rains wreak havoc

Sunday October 27 2019

Mombasa floods

Residents of Junda in Mshomoroni, Mombasa, County, make their way through flood waters following heavy rains on October 27, 2019. Three relatives drowned after their canoe capsized on the Marimani-Maunguja stretch in Mwakirunge Ward on October 25. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Three people have died in Mombasa while several others have been left homeless as heavy rains continue across the country.

Wilfred Jira Kaimu, his sister Scarlett Mare Kaimu, and her son Braven Kaimu drowned after their canoe capsized on the Marimani-Maunguja stretch in Mwakirunge Ward on Friday.

The bodies of the three were later retrieved and buried.

“Wilfred Jira Kaimu was steering the canoe before it capsized. He was helping his sister and the baby cross over from Voroni village in Rabai to join their relatives who live across the creek. They decided to use the Indian Ocean after the main road became impassable following the heavy rains,” said Mr James Kobe.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho urged the residents using the channel to be extremely careful.

Mombasa County Kenya Red Cross Director Mohammed Rajab said areas most prone to floods and landslides include Chaani, Mikindani, Jomvu Kuu, Bamburi, Junda, Kiembeni and Kadzandani, Moroto slums, Ganjoni, Majengo, Kona Mpya, Consolata Catholic Church, and Shika Adabu.

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TSAVO PARK

In Taita-Taveta county, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is on high alert and ready to act if the Galana and Voi rivers break their banks.

Tsavo KWS Assistant Director Robert Njue assured tourists at Tsavo National Park of their safety as the rains continue.

Speaking in Voi, Mr Njue said they visited Satao and Galdessa Safari camps and put in place measures to ensure safety of tourists.

“We have talked to the management and given them all the emergency contacts they call,” he said.

Last year, several tourist camps deep in the heart of Tsavo East National Park were washed away, forcing the government to evacuatetourists stranded there

Property worth millions of shillings belonging to DOA DOA, Kulalu, Kiboko, Swara, Bufallo and Shoroa safari camps was destroyed.

TOURIST NUMBERS

Mr Njue said the heavy rains have not deterred tourists, with most of the hotels in the park fully booked.

“We are looking forward to a very good tourism season as we approach December,” he said.

The KWS official, however, urged tourists not to ignore “road closed” signs as some of the roads have been closed after they were rendered impassable by rains.

“We are monitoring the roads closely and a team is on the ground to assess the roads and repair them where possible Those that cannot be repaired have been closed until the rains subside,” he said.

Hotels and lodges in the park confirmed they were fully booked and struggling to find alternative accommodation as more visitors arrive.

Tsavo is the largest park in East and Central Africa and most visitors tour to get a glimpse of the famous Big Five.

ROADS IMPASSABLE

Last Thursday, over 200 pupils spent the night in Tsavo East National Park after their vehicles got stuck in the mud.

They were rescued by KWS, the Kenya Red Cross Society and the police.

Mr Njue said the drivers of the vehicles ignored a “Road Closed” sign.

"The road became sticky so our engineers closed it recently. I think the drivers chose to ignore the sign but we are glad that the children are now safe," he said.

In Bura Ndogo village in Taveta Sub-county, a nine-year-old child died on Saturday after he was swept away by floods.

A number of feeder roads in Taveta have been rendered impassable by the rains, leaving farmers with huge losses since they cannot transport their produce to the market.

Some of the farms have been covered by floodwaters.

“I was supposed to harvest my melons this week but now I cannot do so because my farm is flooded. Some melons have been washed away,” lamented Paul Simoni, a farmer

Taveta is the region's bread basket

Reports by Winnie Atieno, Siago Cece and Lucy Mkanyika