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One dead, lodges flooded as heavy rains hit Narok

Thursday January 30 2020

GEORGE SAYAGIE
By GEORGE SAYAGIE
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One person drowned in Talek River, Narok West Sub-County, after he was swept away by floodwaters following heavy rains.

Mr John Tome, a resident of Oloshaiki Village, said the victim tried to cross the bridge at the river but was overwhelmed as it broke its banks on Wednesday night.

"The person he had been trying to rescue survived," Mr Tome said, adding he was taken to Longisa Hospital in Bomet County.

The heavy rains also left more than 10 lodges and camps in Maasai Mara flooded, with property including tents, beds, computers and documents damaged or swept away.

They include Mara Leisure, Base, Mara Acacia, Azure, Oleshaiki, River Side, Crocodile, Mara Ngenje and Mara Eden.

A lodge in Narok West Sub-county is pictured on
A lodge in Narok West Sub-county is pictured on January 30, 2020, following heavy rains in Narok County. PHOTO | GEORGE SAYAGIE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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RESCUE

Mr Paul Letiwa, a Nation journalist, is among those marooned at Tipilikwani camp in Takek.

“I woke up and found the sleeping area flooded. In the process of fleeing, I lost my shoes, one of my phones and other personal belongings,” he told the Nation by phone.

“There was no rescue hours later. Scores of tourists are yet to be rescued but we have been taken to Talek Trading Center, some five kilometers away."

Others awaiting evacuation or for the floodwaters to subside are locals and tourists.

A flooded path in Narok West Sub-county is
A flooded path in Narok West Sub-county is pictured on January 30, 2020, following heavy rains in Narok County. PHOTO | GEORGE SAYAGIE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

WORRY

Mr Tome, landlord of Tipilikwani and Mara Ngenje, said most of the tourists were asleep when the waters flowed into the lodges and camps.

A group of American tourists from Samburu National Reserve was to spend one night at the camp but was forced to stay longer.

“Hotel staff are still helping tourists to get to safer grounds. Hotel owners are worried that more of their property will be damaged. They have already lost property worth million of shillings,” Mr Tome said by phone "I have lost personal belongings including a phone, shoes and clothes. I am in the nearby Manyatta."

A worker at the camp, Mr Bernard Alukabha, said they had been hosting about 20 tourists.

Most of the visitors had to sleep on tables, he said.

Personnel from the Kenya Red Cross Society were stuck along Ewaso Ngiro-Naroosura road as their vehicles were affected.

Mr Beneticto Omondi, a Red Cross staff member based in Narok County, said more than five vehicles were marooned by the waters.

Vehicles are marooned by floodwaters along
Vehicles are marooned by floodwaters along Ewaso Ngiro-Naroo Sura Road in Narok South Sub-county following heavy rains on January 30, 2020. PHOTO | GEORGE SAYAGIE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

IMPACT

Some hotels, lodges and camps either turned away guests or evacuated those present as a precaution.

Managers at Maasai Mara, known for the annual wildebeest migration, noted that visitors could not go on game drivers as the heavy rains rendered roads impassable.

Mr James ole Pere, manager of Keekorok Lodge which is inside the reserve, said many rivers burst their banks.

The floods have caused fears about lower numbers of domestic and international tourists, especially during the December holidays.