Heavy rains leave trail of deaths, damage - Daily Nation

NTSA advises public to be cautious as rains leave trail of deaths

Friday March 16 2018

RAINS

A man struggles to swim across a flooded Nairobi River on March 15, 2018 following heavy rains. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By NATION TEAM
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Heavy downpour and floods witnessed in various parts of the country have led to deaths and disruption of transport as some roads have been rendered impassable.

In Nairobi, motorists and commuters have been left stranded after the Joska/Kamulu bridge was destroyed by River Athi, cutting off Kangundo Road.

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, in a Facebook post, advised "those trying to use the road for Nairobi or Machakos should turn back. Our engineers on Mombasa Road are busy repairing the Mto ya Mawe bridge so that we can open the road".

The damage of Mto ya Mawe bridge made pupils of Lukenya Academy to spend the night in the school because the bridge became impasable.

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

According to the Kenya Red Cross Society, the search for the bodies was still on.

Witnesses said the five were on their way to Nairobi carrying charcoal in a lorry from Yatwa in Nuu division. 

FLASH FLOODS
Transport has been affected in many areas in the county since many roads were impassable and rivers overtopped.

Mwingi central police boss John Nyamu has called on residents to avoid crossing the rivers when it’s raining. 

The police boss said they are not sure of the exact number of people swept away but would give full details once at the scene.

In Nakuru and Narok counties, flash floods caused by heavy downpour had claimed three lives by today evening; among the victims was a secondary school student.

MAAI MAHIU ROAD
This comes a day after raging flash floods washed away a section of the Maai Mahiu-Narok Road paralysing transport for more than 24 hours.

However, by today evening, engineers had completed repairing the section of the road.

An official from the China Communications Construction Company termed the repaired section as “safe”, with motorists allowed to use the busy route.

The company was contracted to repair the washed away section that caused heavy traffic snarl up on the busy highway.

Road engineers involved in repairing the road in the past have blamed the geological set up around the Maai Mahiu area to the occasional damage of the busy road.

DROWN

A man died after he fell into a trench at Majengo Estate in Narok Town.

The 28-year-old boda boda operator was swept by the raging water and his body found meters away from the trench.

“The boda boda operator attempted to cross the trench before he plunged into the floods that swept him away,” Narok police boss Joseph Kisombe said.

On Tuesday, a Form Two student at Governor Secondary School in Maai Mahiu drowned after she was swept away by the raging water.

She was among a group of five others who attempted to cross over a flooded gully when the incident occurred.

A tractor driver who also survived the deluge managed to save four of the students.

“She was swept downstream and efforts to rescue her, proved futile,” a resident, Nevas Chege, said.

BUILDING COLLAPSES
Her parents and schoolmates were inconsolable after her body was found on Wednesday morning.

Two of the victims were rushed to the Naivasha Sub-County hospital where they are still undergoing treatment.

Area leaders among them Naivasha MP Jayne Kihara visited the institution today to condole with the teachers and students.

In Kiambu County, a five storey building that has been under construction for the last eight months collapsed at Juja following the heavy rains.

The building collapsed at around 11pm on Wednesday but there were no casualties reported.

The family living behind the building said they were woken up by the thunderous sound.

“We were asleep when we suddenly heard a thunderous sound of something huge falling.

"On stepping out of bed, I was met with a huge cloud of dust and some noise outside since some neighbours had already broken into our gate in an attempt to rescue us thinking we had been hurt,” the resident said.

SAFETY

His neighbours led by James Kariuki said that the building whose construction begun mid last year had been showing signs of collapse.

“We have had many incidents of stones falling from the building. Some cracks could be seen from outside but the owner kept reinforcing the building using planks of wood,” Kariuki said.

Mr Josiah Anunda, a resident, said that the building was set to host students from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, some of whom are said to have already booked the single rooms that were set to be occupied from next month.

National Construction Authority regional coordinator Eric Miseda said preliminary investigations showed that construction of the building had been going on illegally at night despite having been stopped twice over safety concerns.

“It is obvious that the building was constructed hastily and at night and using substandard material.

"Two closure notices had been issued but the owner ignored them. That coupled with the ongoing rains are the reasons for the entire collapse of the building,” Mr Miseda said.

NAIROBI

Kiambu County commissioner Wilson Wanyaga urged members of the public who were milling around the debris to avoid the area until the debris has been cleared.

He added that the police were searching for the owner of the building who will be charged with flouting building regulations, negligence and loss of lives if found answerable over the death of two of his workers last year.

Reports indicated that the two workers died after building stones fell on them from a crane that had been lifting them to an upper floor late last year. 

In Nairobi, flood waters filled major streets and avenues within the Central Business District (CBD), with some commuters wading through it as they alighted from matatus.

Some of the flood hotspots included Moi Avenue, Tom Mboya Streer, Racecourse Road, Ronald Ngala Street, Haile Selassie Avenue, Temple Road, Kimathi Street among others.

SCHOOLS
In Isiolo, a 30-year-old man was swept away by raging flood waters. Isiolo Assistant County Commissioner Otieno Okich said the man identified as Bashir Khallif was crossing over a culvert at Soko Mjinga on his way to Isiolo Town but was overpowered by the water.

Police and villagers found the body around Safi estate and it is being preserved at Isiolo Hospital mortuary.

The rains, which lasted over nine hours, also led to delay in learning activities in most schools.

Some pupils and students from different schools in Kulamawe and Bullapesa areas failed to report to school since the roads were impassable.

At around 7am, school buses were reportedly stuck for hours due to heavy floods originating from some parts of Meru County.

MOTORISTS
In Tharaka-Nithi, a strong wind accompanied by heavy downpour on Wednesday evening blew off roofs of four houses in Tumanya Primary School in Tharaka South Sub-County.

The affected houses are: staffroom, head teacher’s office, deputy’s office and senior teacher’s office.

The rainfall pouring in Mount Kenya region has also rendered many weather roads in the county impassable.

Today, the National Transport and Safety Authority warned the public to be extra vigilant on the vulnerable roads.

Major roads and highways such as Mombasa Road, Uhuru Highway, Jogoo Road and Limuru Road were also adversely affected.

“We caution road users that after the recent dry weather there is a build up of dirt and soil deposits on the road, when this mixes up with the rain water it increases the risk of a skid,” NTSA director general Francis Meja said in a statement.

The NTSA has also asked pedestrians to use designated crossing points to avoid unnecessary risks.

National Environment and Management Authority Director General Geoffrey Wahungu said the government is still committed to ensuring no plastic bag is produced in the country.

Prof Wahungu was speaking at St Mary’s School, Nairobi, today after a heap of plastic bottles and bags were swept by water and dumped at the school’s gate.

Reports by Faith Nyamai, Macharia Mwangi, George Sayagie, Boniface Mwaniki, Mary Wambui, Vivian Chebet