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Five killed in Tana River flooding

By Hassan Barisa and Julius Chepkwony | Published Wed, April 11th 2018 at 00:00, Updated April 10th 2018 at 23:13 GMT +3
Locals use canoes to cross floods that cut off the road at Hamdaruku area in Tana River County. [Photo by Maarufu Mohamed/Standard]

The death toll in the floods in parts of Tana River County has risen to five after three days of heavy rains.

Yesterday morning at Bilbil on the Bura-Garissa highway, a seasonal river flowing into Tana River swept away two children who were swimming in a canal in the Bura Irrigation Scheme.

The children, aged between eight and 12 years, were said to have drowned when the canal burst its banks.

A witness only identified as Bonaya said the boys were swept away as they played in the canal in Bilbil area.

Tana North OCPD Tom Okoth and the Kenya Red Cross Society manager in charge of Tana and Kitui counties, Jareld Bombe, confirmed the deaths.

Mr Okoth said a team of police officers had been stationed at the cut-off area to assess the situation and protect lives and property.

On Saturday, a woman lost three children in Lenda village in Galole constituency as they tried to cross the flooded River Tana.

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Police in Hola said they were searching for another child said to have been missing following the Saturday tragedy.

Transport on the Garissa-Hola highway was paralysed after a bridge connecting Garissa and Bura was swept away in Bilbil area, one kilometre from Bura Township.

Hundreds of passengers using the main Hola-Nairobi highway were stranded at Bilbil for hours after two buses suspended their journey when the road became impassable.

Tana River Governor Dhadho Godhana condoled with the families of the flood victims and asked the national government to speed up the rehabilitation of Garsen-Garissa highway, saying the road was the economic hub for both the coast and northeastern regions.

In Baringo County, more than 400 acres of maize and beans planted by the Kenya Seed Company at Ilchamus ward in Baringo South were yesterday destroyed by flood waters. Over 10,000 people were displaced.

A member of the county assembly, Joseph Leparsalaach, said hundreds of families had left their homes.

“The entire ward has been affected. People in several villages, including Eldume, Iling’arua, and Ng’oitereri, have been displaced,” said Mr Leparsalaach.

About 180 animals were also swept away by the waters, as was a bridge to Eldume Primary School.

Dickson Lekesio, a farmer, said he lost 300 acres of maize and another 10 acre of beans.

The floods also affected more than 200 families camping at Eldume and there were fears that residents risked contracting water-borne diseases.

Jones Olechurai, the camp's chairperson, said the rains had made life difficult for the displaced.

Mr Olechurai said toilets and tents had been washed away, exposing the dwellers to diseases such as cholera, malaria, typhoid, and pneumonia.

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