A woman drowned moments after alighting from a Garissa-bound bus at Bilibil Bura in Tana River yesterday.
She was swept away as she tried to cross a flooded section of the Garissa-Mombasa highway.
“She tried to cross the flooded road, but was swept away to the other side and drowned as we watched helplessly,” said Abdullahi Issack, a resident of Bengal.
Mr Issack said people panicked and some started crying.
“All buses were parked a kilometre away. People had to carry their luggage and cross the flooded road. All our belongings got wet, including mobile phones,” he said.
It has been raining heavily in many parts of northern Kenya in the last few days.
Buses plying Mandera, Wajir, Garissa and parts of Tana River routes have been stuck in muddy sections of the roads for weeks.
Passengers are sometimes forced to spend days on the road, most of which are not tarmacked.
The Mandera-Wajir-Garissa Road, which is categorised as national by the Roads ministry, has been neglected by successive governments since independence.
It can take weeks to travel between Garissa and Mandera on rainy days, a journey that would ordinarily take about one-and-a-half days.
Sh3, 500 fare
Siyat Abdirahman, a 23-year-old college student in Nairobi, knows this too well. He said he was looking forward to meeting his family before the two-week break ends.
He paid Sh3, 500 to travel to Mandera by bus and has already spent Sh1, 800 more since his journey started three days earlier.
“It seems I won’t be able to beat that deadline,” Mr Abdirahman said, adding that it was unfair for the Government to continue upgrading roads and highways in other parts of the country while the road linking Garissa to Mandera is ignored.
The managements of bus companies normally advise commuters to carry packed food, drinking water and even mosquito nets since they are likely to spend many days on the road should it road.