Rainfall should bring us reprieve, not relentless torrents of tears

After a protracted dry spell that caused the deaths of humans and animals, the onset of rains came as a big reprieve.

Unfortunately, as soon as the rains hit the ground, loud desperate cries reverberated from various corners. According to the United Nations, at least 120 people have died following heavy rains in the country since October.

The worst affected county, of course, is West Pokot, where close to 50 people have been killed by rainfall-triggered landslides.

The rains have caused devastation in virtually all parts of the country.

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Needless to say, the current rains have been very intense. It is not unusual for rains of such magnitude to cause damage, and even deaths.

Going forward, it would be important for the government, and even members of the public, to hold serious discussions on how to safeguard the lives of people who live in areas that are prone to landslides.

It should be considered whether families that live in places that are hit by landslides year after year should be moved to safer grounds permanently, or if safe houses should be built where they can seek refuge every time there are heavy rains.

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But some devastation and desperation wrought by the heavy rains can be avoided. For instance, several parts of the city have been hit by serious flooding in the past two days. Some roads, such as the Ruaraka section of the Thika Superhighway and Eastern Bypass-Kangundo Road intersection at Ruai were momentarily rendered impassable by the deluge. Buildings, including hospitals, were reported flooded.

This points to either poor construction or maintenance of the drainage system. In most places, the drainage systems are too narrow to accommodate huge volumes of water and the government does nothing to improve the situation despite the floods recurring every year.

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City residents are part of the problem through their haphazard dumping of waste. When it rains, this waste ends up in the drainage systems, clogging them up. The problem is the same in most urban centres across the country.

Change of attitude can help reduce rain-fueled agony by half. If the government can make it a habit to improve the drainage systems ahead of rains and people avoided dumping waste haphazardly, flooding would be avoided in most residential areas. Rains should be a blessing, not a curse.

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RainfallHeavy rainfallKenya Meteorological department