Floods wreak havoc in Wajir, Mandera as locals call for help

Wednesday October 23 2019

A house is marooned by flood water in Isiolo on October 23, 2019 after marooned after River Ewaso Nyiro burst its banks. In Wajir, four children died as they swam in a swollen stream following heavy rains. PHOTO | WAWERU WAIRIMU | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Four children drowned on Tuesday in Eldas, Wajir County as they attempted to swim in a swollen stream.

Two of the victims were in Standard Five, one in Grade One and another in Grade Three.

Heavy rains in the area have occasioned flash floods which have cut off roads and marooned villages.

Wajir County Director of Education Hussein Osman confirmed the deaths.


The official said as a result of the heavy rains, some examination centres have been moved.


The affected centres and schools are in Bute and Buna in Wajir North.

“We are having challenges in accessing examination centres and in some parts some schools are marooned. We have relocated four centres in Buna to safer schools on higher grounds and we are also closely watching four others in Bute area,” Mr Osman said by phone.

We are facing challenges in almost every part but we have emergency measures in place that will be applied when need arises,” he added.

Heavy flooding as a result of the ongoing rains has cut off major routes in Mandera County, leaving behind stranded villagers with no help after months of biting drought.


In Kotulo, drivers, mostly of lorries ferrying goods from Nairobi, are stuck on the main road and are on the verge of starvation following the depletion of their food and water stocks.

Private businesses are also counting heavy losses following the floods that cut off roads rendering logistics a nightmare.

The county is a key source of livestock for meat products consumed in Nairobi, Meru, Nakuru and Mombasa as well as other neighbouring towns.

The cutting off of roads also means bad business as transporters have shunned the area citing heavy losses incurred when their vehicles suffer mechanical breakdown or are swept by floods while on the way to the market.


The floods have destroyed huge sections of roads, thus interfering with the movement of people and their animals.

Several airstrips in Mandera are now muddy, posing danger to planes using them.

In Mandera West, a passenger plane has remained stuck in mud after skidding off the runway since Sunday.

“We are still stuck in mud since Sunday, there are no hopes of being rescued since it has continued to rain here,” said Mr Adow Shukri Issack, a passenger on the plane.


At Elwak Airstrip, a police lorry was used to pull out a passenger plane from the muddy runway on Sunday after heavy rainfall.

The Mandera-Wajir-Nairobi road has been left in ruins and motorists can longer use it.

“We are forced to exchange passengers at Kotulo in Mandera South due to a flooded road in that area,” said Mr Ouma Fredrick, a bus mechanic.

Mr Mohamed Bardad, the chairman of Mandera Bus Owners Association, said buses from either Nairobi or Mandera cannot cross the flooded River Lagwarera in Mandera South.


Despite the devastating situation, floods are a blessing to some as several youths are cashing in by helping travellers cross the flooded sections of the roads.

“We are charging between Sh100 and Sh500 per a person to carry him or her across the swollen rivers or flooded points,” said Alio Said.

The youths are using makeshift boats to transport stranded travellers in Mandera.

Mr Ibrahi Hillow, a driver, told the Nation by phone that fresh produce that was being ferried from Nairobi is now rotting.

“We are in a bad situation for almost a week. We are asking the county administration to send help immediately,” Mr Hillow said.