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At least 15 killed as rains wreak havoc in Kenya

Friday March 16 2018

kenya floods

A woman and her son struggle to access their marooned home in Kilimambogo, Thika, Kiambu County on March 16, 2018. PHOTO | MARY WAMBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP. 

NATION TEAM
By NATION TEAM
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At least 15 people have been killed, scores injured and property worth millions of shillings destroyed by the heavy rains pounding parts of Kenya in the last 72 hours.

Kenyans were on Friday morning counting losses and assessing damages caused by the downpour that wreaked havoc in the capital Nairobi, Mt Kenya and parts of Coast, Eastern and northeastern.

4 DROWN

In Machakos, four bodies were retrieved from River Athi at Joska-Kamulu bridge along Nairobi-Kangundo highway on Friday morning.

Matungulu police boss Samuel Mukuusi said the victims drowned while crossing the flooded river on Thursday night.

The bridge was washed away after swollen Athi River breached its banks following the Thursday downpour.

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In Kitui County, five people died after they were swept away by the Enziu River in Mwingi East Sub-County on Thursday.

According to the Kenya Red Cross Society, the search for the bodies was still on by the end of Thursday.

In Nakuru and Narok counties, flash floods caused by heavy downpour had claimed three lives by on Wednesday evening.

Among the victims was a secondary school student.

2 CHILDREN

In Taita Taveta, two children, aged eight and five, died after they drowned in separate incidents.

In Mwatate, a five-year-old boy was swept away by floods as he tried to cross Mwatate River on Thursday evening.

According to police, the Standard Two pupil at Maili Kumi Primary School was heading home from school when he met his death.

Mwatate police chief Francis Mwangi on Friday said the body of the boy was found lying in a ditch downstream at Chakaleri area.

“The boy was alone when the incident happened,” he said.

He said the body was taken to Moi County Referral Hospital mortuary in Voi.

QUARRY

In Taveta, an eight-year-old boy drowned on Friday while swimming in an abandoned quarry in Lesesia area.

County police commander Fred Ochieng said the father of the deceased reported that his son was grazing goats when he drowned.

“The ditch was a quarry so due to the ongoing rains it has been filled with water,” he said.

The body of the boy was taken to Taveta sub-county hospital for postmortem.

In Meru, a man was swept by floods at Mugae along the Ruiri-Isiolo road following the heavy on Thursday evening.

Kenya Red Cross Society Central region coordinator Gitonga Mugambi on Friday said another person was rescued by Red Cross emergency response team after he tried to cross the road on a motorbike.

CAUTION

Several motorists and other road users were stranded for several hours while others were forced to use alternative routes.

The raging waters from higher areas of Kibirichia cut off the Ruiri-Isiolo road.

“The body of the man who was swept away is yet to be recovered. Residents of areas such as Maua, Athwana and Mukothima in Tharaka-Nithi should be careful due to the heavy rains,” Mr Mugambi said.

Other areas prone to flooding in Meru include Kagaene along Meru-Mikinduri road, Lailuba along Muriri-Isiolo road and Muthara market.

Mr Mugambi said there was a need for administrators to enforce bans on quarrying until the rains subside to prevent deaths.

Meru County commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga cautioned motorists against using flooded roads.

The rains have left a trail of destruction in various parts of Nakuru, Nyandarua and Narok counties

In Nyandarua, they have led to destruction of road network as well as flooding in major markets and residential areas.

Contractors rehabilitating the rural access roads and Ol Kalou town have been forced to abandon the sites for nearly two weeks since the rains began.

At Engineer market in Kinangop, traders are counting losses as customers avoid the murky open-air market located at the centre of the town.

Piles of garbage have also blocked water runways and drainage systems within residential areas.

“We are losing business to those allowed to operate along the Miharati-Njambini highway. The rains have made the market filthy and stinky. Our market lacks a drainage system and roofing,”said Ms Jacqueline Wangechi, a trader at the market.

NAROK

Appealing to the county government to address the situation, Ms Wangechi said the most affected are cloth and shoe dealers whose stocks were soaked. 

Dairy farmers, on the other hand, complained of inaccessible markets due to the poor state of the roads.

In Nakuru, more than 500 families living in slums risk contracting diseases due to incomplete and open sewer lines.

Most of the homesteads in the low-end estates, especially in the lower side of the town, have been surrounded by leaking sewers discharging untreated effluent into their environment.

The affected areas include Kaptembwa, Pondamali, Kwa Rhonda and Kivumbini among others.

Various markets in Nakuru town, including the popular Wakulima market, have become filthy as the rains intensify.

Traders are counting losses as customers avoid the murky open-air markets.

In Narok County, residents are living in fear of floods in the town.

Narok Deputy County Commissioner Ronald Mwiwawi on Friday urged residents to be cautious and to move to safe areas to avoid death.

Reports by Waikwa Maina, Peter Mburu, George Sayagie, David Muchui, Lucy Mkanyika and Harry Misiko.