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Rains expose Mombasa poor drainage system

Thursday October 17 2019

Motorists drive through a flooded Moi Avenue in Mombasa County

Motorists drive through a flooded Moi Avenue in Mombasa County on October 17, 2019. Several roads in the city have been rendered impassable due to ongoing rains and poor drainage systems. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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When it rains, it pours, but for Mombasa, it floods.

Heavy rains that have been pounding the coastal city for the last two days have brought the town to a standstill.

Flooded residential areas and impassable roads have become the new face of Mombasa, exposing the city’s poor drainage system, a perennial problem for the county government.

School-going children, businesspersons and residents have been left to deal with clogged drainage system that results in floods at the lightest downpour. 

“We decided to remain indoors. Most of us have been forced to close down our businesses,” said a resident Bakari Hamisi.

Commuters using public transport are left stranded at bus stops as the normal fares are doubled.


Besides the inconvenience caused by impassable flooded roads, there is also the glaring fear of waterborne disease outbreaks.


The meteorological department had announced that heavy rains will be experienced in most parts of the country including Mombasa. 

The above normal rains were to be accompanied by flash floods and strong winds rendering most roads impassable while grounding most activities in the rather busy weekdays.

Most residents have attributed the flooding to poor drainage obstructing water flow.

Motorists have also complained of flood water getting into their vehicles.

Traffic along Moi Avenue in Mombasa County on
Traffic along Moi Avenue in Mombasa County on October 17, 2019. The weatherman has warned of flash floods as heavy rains continue to pound the coastal strip. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Most of the affected areas include Kiembeni, Shimanzi, Bombolulu and Utange.

Residents were left stranded as rain waters cut off roads while at Bombolulu Primary children were forced to wade through waters in the school buildings as they attended classes.

Changamwe roundabout has also been rendered impassable because of the ongoing construction of the Makua Causeway.


In Bombolulu, despite the rains, traders continued selling fresh fruits and vegetables in the open waters contaminated by sewers, putting buyers and residents at risk of waterborne diseases.

Residents of Bombolulu in Mombasa county wade
Residents of Bombolulu in Mombasa county wade through flood waters to access the main road from their homes on October 17, 2019. Businesses and schools have reported their activities hindered due to the floods. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

But Mombasa county health chief officer Aisha Abubakar said so far no cases had been reported of disease outbreaks and that the county was working to ensure that they cleared the affected areas of flood water.

“We want to tell residents to ensure they drink clean water, cook their own food and move away from swampy areas to protect themselves from diseases,” she said.

There are also fears that the continued rains could bring down poorly constructed buildings.

On Monday, a section of a two-storey building in Mwembe Tayari fell after a heavy downpour. 

Mombasa residents have been complaining of the poor drainage system that results in flooding within hours of light rains. 


However, the Transport and Infrastructure chief officer Engineer Albert Keno works were ongoing to expand the storm waterways to allow water to drain into the Indian Ocean.

“We are working to expand the systems which are small and cannot contain the water capacity. The most affected area is Mkomani, but the revamping of the drainage will soon be complete, “said Mr Keno.

The county also announced a major drainage construction along Chaani which is the outfall of Changamwe.

“The water collected in the upper Changamwe will come down to Chaani before it goes to the sea,” he added.

In addition, he said there were other county intervention measures at Umoja area in Nyali where a drainage way with a depth of seven to eight metres is being set up at Tamarind.

Other areas where drainage systems had been put are Sisi Kwa Sisi village around Changamwe and at Bomu Primary and Secondary School in 2014, he said.


But residents have raised concerns that some areas like Utange and Bombolulu have been neglected.

The county official said they are working with the national government to address the flooding problem in those areas.

He, however, issued a warning to people intruding and constructing houses in wetlands and drainage areas.