Death toll rises in Mombasa with more heavy rains predicted

Ferry services at the Likoni channel crossing were suspended in the morning as the downpour released an "avalanche of water" into the Indian Ocean, resulting in strong currents. PHOTO:STANDARD

The death toll from heavy rains has increased by three as flooding wreaked havoc in Kilifi and Mombasa, forcing the temporary suspension of ferry services.

Several schools in the two counties have been shut down and bridges cut off in Kwale following the heavy downfall that has been experienced since last Friday.

The flooding was worsened by poor drainage in Mombasa, with County Commissioner Evans Achoki saying hundreds of families had been displaced.

Ferry services at the Likoni channel crossing were suspended in the morning as the downpour released an "avalanche of water" into the Indian Ocean, resulting in strong currents.

Kenya Ferry Services Managing Director Bakari Gowa said two rivers - Mteza and Mwache - had swollen to levels that made it difficult for the ferries to operate.

"Heavy rains that pounded Mombasa last night (Monday) led to sudden change in water currents, leading to problems when ferries attempted to dock on either side of the channel," said Mr Gowa.

The number of those killed by floods in Mombasa rises to nine, after a family of five and a cassava trader died when a wall collapsed and flattened a house in Kizingo.

A man and his four-year-old daughter died in Runyu village of Mikindani at about 3am, said Changamwe OCPD Peter Omanwa.


"We lost a man and his daughter in Mikindani last night after a wall collapsed on their house. The man's wife was treated at the Mikindani Health Centre and discharged while the bodies were moved to the mortuary," said Mr Omanwa.

Mr Achoki said the third victim died in Junda ward, Kisauni constituency, while walking in the rain.

Junda village elder Cyphus Karisa said the man was walking home in the rain from the hospital where he had gone to seek treatment for an undisclosed ailment.

"We lost a man after he collapsed on his way from hospital. He got soaked in the rain and was heading home when he collapsed and died," Mr Karisa told The Standard.

In Kilifi County, five homesteads and a school in Palakumi location in Ganze were destroyed by the rain.

Ganze Deputy County Commissioner Mohamed Mwabudzo also said five homesteads were demolished, leaving more than 20 families in the cold.

The mud-walled Mwenge Primary School also caved in while pupils were in their classrooms. However, no casualties were reported.

"Our classrooms are leaking and the drainage system in the school is poor. We have no money to stop this, not even through water harvesting, and it is affecting learning," said head teacher Benson Ponda.

Kilifi County Director of Education Moses Karati said he would convene a meeting of all the education sub-county directors today to get the facts on the status of schools hit by the floods.


Meanwhile, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho yesterday toured areas that have been adversely affected by the floods as his government came under fire for the city's poor drainage system.

Mr Joho visited the family of a man and his daughter who died after their house was destroyed by a wall in Mikindani.

He directed the moving to safer grounds of two dozen families living next to a storey building in Jomvu because it was in danger of collapsing.

He also visited Mwamlai in Jomvu constituency where over 40 houses are in danger of collapsing after rain water flooded the area.

Meanwhile, a building under construction caved in on Jomo Kenyatta Avenue in Mvita constituency, leading to panic among neighbours.

Construction workers from Vapco Construction Company were on site trying to pump rainwater from the building site. [Philip Mwakio, Mkamburi Mwawasi and Maureen Ongala]