Six killed, thousands displaced as rain pounds the country - Daily Nation

Six killed, thousands displaced as heavy rain pounds the country

Sunday April 29 2018


Families in Tana River County on April 25, 2018 seek alternative accommodation after they were displaced by floods after River Tana burst its banks. PHOTO | ABDIMALIK ISMAIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Hundreds of people were yesterday evacuated by boats and canoes as floods caused at least six deaths between Friday night and yesterday. 

In Murang’a County, four people were killed on Friday night following a mudslide in Murarandia village in Kiharu Constituency, while 10 others were injured.

Area OCPD David Kandie identified Gathaithi village in Kiharu, Lower Kambirwa, Mugoiri, Kinyona in Kigumo and Gitugi in Mathioya as most affected.

In Tana River, a boat capsized with two children aged one and 10 who had been rescued on Friday night.

The children were among five others who had been rescued from Galili village, having spent Thursday night on rooftops.

More than 10 schools in Galole constituency were also flooded following a heavy downpour, which also saw more than 15,000 residents displaced.

Tana River director of education Gitonga Mbaka said about 34 schools in the Tana Delta are marooned, while about 10 mud-walled learning institutions have been swept away.

Tana River director for special programmes Sokorote Mavue said the devolved government had incurred losses of up to Sh2 billion.

“We have incurred huge losses as a county and the situation continues to worsen. We are calculating our losses at Sh2 billion,” he said. 

Crop farmers in the area have also lost all their farm produce and pastoralists have lost more than 700 head of livestock.

So far, the county has spent more than Sh100 million in purchase of rescue motor boats, relief food and non-food items for the flood victims. 

The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) alongside the Kenya Police, the Kilifi County government, Kenya Red Cross Society and other humanitarian organisations led efforts to rescue and evacuate more than 3,000 people who had been trapped by floods in Garashi and Kakuyuni wards.

The floods crisis has so far displaced 40,000 people in that area.

In Nandi, a mudslide left 300 families homeless on Friday night.

When the Nation team visited the area, dozens of residents, including children and women, were camping at the Cherondo Primary School.

“I was in my house when I heard a strange sound. I rushed out to check and saw a huge stone rolling downhill,” Sharon Kogo recounted.

No one was hurt during the incident. Wilson Karoney, another resident, said the area is prone to landslides and appealed to the government to look for alternative land to relocate them.

“Though Red Cross team supported the rescue efforts, we have lost everything since the landslide covered maize and coffee plantations. We have also lost livestock,” the resident said.

In Narok County, the Ewaso Ng’iro River burst its banks last week and destroyed 900 acres of an irrigation scheme in Mosiro — destroying maize, beans, water melons and tomatoes worth an estimated Sh100 million.

So far, flash floods have destroyed the multimillion-shilling storm drainage system being constructed in Narok Town by the devolved government.

The drainage system is estimated to be worth Sh500 million. A newly-constructed Sh2 million bridge in Narok was also washed away.

In Laikipia, heavy rains have contributed to wasting away of tonnes of tomatoes that are rotting on farms.

Some farmers have resorted to feeding cattle with the tomatoes.

In Makueni County, the heavy rains have left behind a trail of destruction.

Boreholes, water pumps, water pipelines and water kiosks have also been damaged, leaving the affected residents without the precious commodity.

“This is a huge damage that so far is estimated at Sh300 million on water resources alone,” Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana said.

The sprawling Kisengela Farm in the county, owned by businessman Patel Rakesh, suffered losses estimated at Sh100 million after the River Athi burst its banks.

Farm manager Euticus Irungu told the Sunday Nation that the farm, known for producing mangoes and other horticultural produce, is contemplating laying off some of its workers because of the loss it has suffered following the flooding.

The wave of destruction in Makueni did not spare at least a dozen other farms in the area.

A tourist resort and camp on River Athi and at least a dozen houses were affected.

In Turkana county, raging floods have left more than 10,000 people in Lodwar homeless.

Residents living along the seasonal Kawalase River are the worst hit.

The river burst its banks last week, causing massive damage in the surrounding areas.

County disaster management executive Charles Lokioto confirmed that 4,200 people were directly affected by floods in Napetet village and are being hosted at Kawalase Primary and a Kenya Medical Training College facility in the area.

In Nakuru County, a Sh50 million market in Kiratina that was earmarked for commissioning by the county government in June collapsed following strong winds and heavy rains.

Residents said the collapse of the market had shattered the hopes of many traders who had been operating in the congested Wakulima market in Nakuru Town.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure asked Parliament and the National Treasury to allocate almost Sh20 billion as emergency funding to restore and rehabilitate the country’s roads damaged by the rains.

And with the Kenya Meteorological Department predicting that the rains will continue until mid-May, the cost of restoring the roads damaged by flooding could even be higher.

On the emergency allocations, Infrastructure Principal Secretary Julius Korir said they have asked the National Treasury to allocate Sh2 billion “to enable us respond to the emergencies for road repairs and restoration of passage of traffic,” according to a brief seen by the Sunday Nation.

The ministry is also seeking Parliament’s approval of Sh17.5 billion to be divided among the three road agencies in the country – Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) and Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) – bringing the total to Sh19.5 billion as at the time the brief was prepared.

This figure could have changed as several parts of the country continue to receive above normal rains, which have cut-off several roads and made others impassable.

Reports by Winnie Atieno, Stephen Oduor, Pius Maundu, Stanley Kimuge, Vivian Jebet, Irene Mwendwa, George Sayagie,  Magdalene Wanja, Macharia Mwangi, Sammy Lutta, Walter Menya, Ndung’u Gachane and Flora Koech