Heavy rains nearly bring Mombasa to a halt

Friday May 24 2019

Mombasa rains

Mombasa County workers try to unclog a blocked manhole off Moi Avenue on May 23, 2019 to ease flow of water as heavy rains continue to pound the Coast region. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

WINNIE ATIENO
By WINNIE ATIENO
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MOHAMED AHMED
By MOHAMED AHMED
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The heavy rains that continue to pound at the Coast have affected many businesses including the Port of Mombasa.

According to the Kenya Ports Authority, the downpour has slowed down and even halted some operations at port for the last two days.

“The rains have paralysed ship operations prompting all ships at the Conventional Cargo area to close hatches. Most affected vessels are those carrying wheat, fertiliser, steel and coal. At the Container Terminal currently only deliveries are working,” KPA said on its Facebook page on Thursday.

The Standard Gauge Railway freight services have also been severely affected.

Heavy rains pound Mombasa

Heavy rains pound Mombasa on May 23, 2019. PHOTO | SAMUEL BAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

UNABATED

According to an advisory issued by the Kenya Meteorological Department, the heavy rainfall will continue unabated up to Saturday.

“The effect of this situation will be characterised by slow cargo evacuation, poor stevedoring services and reduced SGR operations,” a notice from KPA reads.

The authority says it has, however, put in place measures to mitigate against the vagaries of the weather visited on the port.

KPA has urged those yet to clear the documentation process to do so and be ready to clear their cargo once the weather permits.

In its advisory Met urged Coast residents to be on the look out for flash floods.

“It (downpour) is expected to be above 40mm in 24 hours along the south Coast and off Coast on Thursday and projected to exceed 30mm in 24 hours on Friday over the entire Coast strip. The rains are likely to be accompanied by strong winds and may cause flooding in low-lying areas near the coastline and other water repositories,” read the alert.

Counties expected to be affected are Kwale, Kilifi, Mombasa, southern part of Tana River and Lamu.

Mombasa rains

A marooned house in Mwembe Legeza in Nyali Constituency following heavy downpour on May 23, 2018. One person died in the rains. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

STORMS

Residents where warned against driving, wading or walking through fast-moving waters.

The weatherman also called on fishermen and marine industry operators to be cautious as storms were likely to surge.

“People are urged to continue listening to the local media as updates will be provided if conditions change significantly,” the weatherman said.

For a week, Mombasa residents have been grappling with heavy rains that caused heavy traffic jams especially along the highway to Nairobi, and cut off some roads.

Mombasa rains

Rider struggles to control his motorcycle through a flooded road in Nyali following heavy downpour on May 23, 2018. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

OUTBREAK

The rainwater has also heightened fears of spread of cholera. The county government has already banned the sale of bottled water from unverified companies to tame the outbreak.

Hotel workers, food and water vendors have also been directed to register at the county offices.

ROADS

In Kwale, flood waters cut-off Mombasa-Lunga Lunga road in both Mangwei and Kanana.

Casual workers were seen attempting to repair a section of the highway that connects to Tanzania at Kanana during a Nation spot check.

In Vanga, a driver and his team spent three days on the road after their canter got stuck in the mud following the rains that have been pounding the region for the last four days nonstop.

Mombasa rains

A tuktuk gets stuck in a manhole along a flooded section of Moi Avenue near the iconic tusks in Mombasa County on May 23, 2019. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

"We have tried all means to remove our vehicle but our efforts have hit a brick wall. We are losing business because of what we have been forced to deal with. We have been spending the night in the cold for the last three days," said Mr Michael Kombo, the turnboy.

A Lunga Lunga constituency community leader Kassim Pojo said destruction of the main road and others have affected transportation of food.

Among the affected areas are Dzombo, Mwereni, Vanga and Pongwe wards.

"If the situation is not addressed then some residents will die of hunger because food transportation has been difficult to those areas," said Mr Pojo.