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Flood alert around River Tana as Kiambere Dam overflows

Friday December 13 2019

Kiambere Dam in Embu

Kiambere Dam in Embu County as pictured on April 27, 2018, when it spilled over. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

BERNADINE MUTANU
By BERNADINE MUTANU
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Kenyans living downstream River Tana have been advised to move to higher ground as Kiambere Dam has overflowed.

The dam, one of the Seven Forks Dams, reached its full supply level midday Friday and started discharging the excess water downstream River Tana.

Consequently, the overflow is expected to cause massive flooding and affect people living in Garissa, Hola and Garsen.

The Water Resources Authority (WRA) issued a statement warning the public about the eventuality.

"WRA notifies citizens living around Tana Delta to observe utmost caution following overflow at Kiambere dam,” WRA's Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Shurie said in a statement.

TIME TO MOVE

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Mr Shurie said the dam was 0.15 metres empty at 9.15am and started overflowing at 12.35pm, after reaching its full supply level of 700 meters.

The authority estimates that the flow will reach Garissa after 24 hours, Hola after 48 hours and Garsen (Tana Delta) after another 48 hours.

All people living along River Tana, especially from Danjere to Kipini, have also been advised to move to higher ground following the overflow to avoid loss of lives and property.

OTHER DAMS

Sasumwa and Ruiru dams are also overflowing whereas Ndakaini Dam is 96 per cent full.

“It is expected to achieve full capacity by the end of the month if the rains continue with the same intensity. However there is no cause for alarm around these three dams as the rivers surrounding them are not full,” said Mr Shurie.

Heavy rains have continued to cause flooding in different parts of the country.

Already, more than 150 people have been swept by floods or landslides and thousands forced to move to camps after their homes were destroyed.

On Wednesday, Masinga Dam spilled over, raising fears that it may cause floods and destruction of property in surrounding villages.