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Vehicles swept away, motorists trapped in traffic jam following heavy rains in various parts of the country

By Standard Team | Published Mon, April 16th 2018 at 00:00, Updated April 15th 2018 at 21:55 GMT +3
Flight to Nairobi from Mandera delayed from 9 a.m to about 2 p.m as flood subsidised at the airstrip on April 15, 2018 Picture; David Ohito

Several people escaped death narrowly after 10 vehicles were swept away by floods in Suswa along the Narok-Maai Mahiu road.

The Saturday 6pm incidents caused a three-hour traffic along the road.

Witnesses said the flood waters carried heavy boulders that made it difficult for the vehicles to move.

However, there were no casualties as the public rescued those who were caught up in the melee.

Alfred Oduor said the matatu he was travelling overturned, but he was rescued. 

“I was heading to Nairobi from Narok, where I had gone to visit my family. The flood waters literally swept away the matatu, which had 14 passengers, before it overturned. We all came out unhurt even though some people lost valuables,” said Mr Oduor.

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Wesley Lang’at, who was among the rescuers, said they used ropes to pull motorists and passengers to safety.

“Our vehicle was behind a lorry that was swept away. We used the ropes that were in the vehicle to save its occupants,” Mr Lang’at. 

Narok Governor Samuel Tunai said his administration was considering diverting the road to pass through Ngong-Suswa to Narok to avoid such incidents. “This will officer a lasting solution to this natural phenomenon,” said Tunai.

In Kisumu, the authorities are faced with a humanitarian crisis after floods displaced more than 1,000 people, cut off roads, and destroyed crops.

Residents said their belongings were swept away by the raging floods. Their homes and crops were submerged.

The county government has urged stakeholders to join efforts to assist those affected, who need food, shelter, and medicine.

“The floods have left us with a major humanitarian crisis. However, the county government is doing all it can to help those affected,” said Ms Ruth Odinga, the county government’s head of special programmes.

She said the most affected areas were Kibigori, Ombeyi, and parts of Kisumu East, where many people have been displaced after their homes were destroyed.

“We are trying to support those affected but we are calling on other agencies to chip in and assist us,” said Ms Odinga.

She expressed fears that there could be an outbreak of waterborne diseases.

Trouble started on Saturday evening after River Nyando and streams that feed it broke their banks following heavy rains in the Nandi highlands.

Ombeyi MCA Vitalis Otura also expressed fears of an outbreak of diseases. He said children were at risk because of the cold weather.

“Two children, aged six and nine, nearly drowned before they were rescued. As we speak, those in camps lack clean drinking water after boreholes were filled with deluge,” said Mr Otura.

Livestock has also been affected after their grazing fields were flooded. In some cases, adults and their children stood in water as they cooked.

More than 300 residents of Nyando constituency are living at Katundu rescue centre after their homes were submerged.

Monica Auma, 54, said her sick husband had refused to vacate their flooded home to join them at the rescue centre. “We had to raise his bed. I have to wade through flood water to take food to him,” she said. 

In Tana River County, the police have intensified patrols to restrain residents and motorists from using flooded roads and crossing rivers on foot or in unsafe boats.

Officials said about 1,200 families have been displaced and two villages marooned in Bura sub-county.

Thousands urgently need tents, bedding, medicine, food, and water.

Security officers have intensified their operations in parts of Hirimani and Dukanotu along the along Garissa-Bura road, which has been rocked by floods.

Tana North OCPD Tom Okoth said GSU officers had been stationed at Hirimani and Dukanotu, along the Garissa-Hola road to prevent residents from venturing into flood waters.

“We will arrest anybody found crossing or trying to help others cross flooded roads. Most of the roads have been cut off. We want to avoid risking lives,” said Okoth.

Elsewhere, the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) and County Commissioner Oningoi ole Sosio have called on residents to be careful to avoid drowning.

Mr Sosio and the county KRCS manager, Jared Bombe, said water levels had risen following heavy rains and asked residents to move to higher ground.

Bombe said three boats has been sent to Bura, Galole, and Tana Delta to rescue families.

Farmers at the Bura Irrigation Scheme have appealed to the county and national governments to give them relief supplies after their crops were swept away by floods. 

 


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