Floods death toll rises to 172

Flooding in Naivasha after River Karati burst its banks flooding businesses along Nairobi-Nakuru highway. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]
Up to 172 people have died so far and thousands of families rendered homeless by raging floods in various parts of the country.

Data from the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) shows that 283,290 people have been displaced and 84 injured.

The causes of death range from collapsed buildings, mudslides, drowning and capsizing of boats.

The Government put the figure of displaced people at 300,000 by end of April.

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According to the reports, 30 counties have been affected by floods. The most affected is Tana River County.

Other counties severely affected include Kilifi, Garissa, Nakuru, Kisumu, Turkana, Wajir, Mandera, Taita Taveta, Homa-Bay, Siaya, Baringo, Isiolo.

Government data

Government data shows that 150,000 people have been displaced and 16 people killed in Tana River by the end of April.

In Turkana, one person has died and 30,000 displaced by the floods, while in Garissa, three have died and 7,250 been displaced.

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Makueni and Kitui, which hardly reported flooding in the past, have also been significantly affected.

The Government has mapped out areas around the Seven Forks Dam and low lands surrounding it as potential disaster areas.

The Seven Forks Dams comprise of Masinga, Kamburu, Gitaru, Kindaruma and Kiambere dams along Tana River.

Masinga dam has already started spilling over.

“This is the highest amount of rainfall recorded in Kenya since 1918. We are appealing to people in areas such as near Masinga dam not to be adamant and move,” said Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government spokesperson Mwenda Njoka.

Although the National Disaster Operations Centre (NDOC) says advisories for flooding areas had been given in ample time, more reports of deaths and destruction continued to trickle in.

Three dead

In Kiambu, three people died and another one sustained serious injuries on Wednesday evening when a quarry collapsed on them as they sheltered from the rain.

The four worked in local stone mining quarries.

The injured man was taken to Thika Level Five Hospital in serious condition, as local authorities warned residents to avoid the quarries during the rains.

Juja sub-county, which is normally largely dry, is dotted with numerous stone quarries that supply Nairobi and surrounding areas with construction material.

In Murang’a, several buildings were destroyed following heavy rains yesterday.

The destruction was reported in Kigumo and Kandara sub-counties. Six police houses in Kigumo were damaged.

A police vehicle was also damaged when a tree fell on it.

“No casualties have been reported, but residents have been warned to ensure they are safe,” said Kigumo OCPD Ibrahim Mchumwa.

At least seven families in Gitugi area in Mathioya were relocated after cracks were spotted inside their houses by a team of geologists.

In Naivasha, tens of families living near rivers Malewa and Karati have been advised to move to safer areas. 

River Karati broke its banks in what residents said was the first time in decades.

“We are asking all the families living along rivers Malewa and Karati to move to higher ground as there are fears that the situation could get worse,” said Water Resources Authority (WRA) Naivasha sub-county regional manager Geoffrey Mworia.

Houses and latrines belonging to squatters in the nearby Manera farm were submerged, raising fears of disease outbreak.

Traders losses

Businesses premises were flooded, leading to losses in millions.

Naivasha MP Jayne Kihara, who visited Delamere shopping center, attributed the flooding to heavy rains in the nearby Kinangop area.

“We buried four men last month after they drowned while on their way home, and we are calling on anyone near the two rivers to move to safer grounds,” she said.

[Reports by Wainaina Wambu, Kamau Maichuhie, Antony Gitonga]

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