Coast floods leave trail of deaths, destruction and displacement

Some of the victims whose houses were flooded after heavy down pour in Kisauni, Mombasa. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Heavy rains and floods have ravaged the Coast region in the last five days leaving behind a trail of deaths, destruction, and displacement of thousands of families.

The death toll caused by the rains and floods rose to 11 on Saturday after a boda boda rider drowned near Mwatate in Taita-Taveta County. The body of the 24-year-old, Iddi Daudi, was retrieved from the muddy culvert.

Government officials said several other people are missing, and over 20,000 people are displaced in the six counties of Mombasa, Kilifi, Tana River, Lamu, Kwale, and Taita Taveta.

“So far, one person has died in Mombasa, three in Kwale, three in Kilifi, and two in Tana River,” said Coast Regional Coordinator Rodah Onyancha.

The most affected counties by the floods are Tana River and Mombasa, where several households have been displaced. In Tana River, over 5,000 families have since evacuated. The River Tana has burst its banks forcing the residents to move to higher grounds. A spot check by The Standard spotted hundreds of residents displaced in Tana River heading to the Gamba area.

Ms Onyancha said the Government has launched an operation to move thousands of residents living along the River Tana, which has continued to swell, to higher grounds.

She said 3, 892 families in Mombasa have been affected by the heavy rains and floods, adding that at least 300 families have no place to sleep after their houses were marooned or swept away by the raging floods.

“In Kilifi, at least 214 people have been displaced while Taita Taveta, the least affected, has left 82 households homeless.” Latrines and toilets have also been destroyed, speaking fears of a possible outbreak of waterborne diseases.”

On Saturday, the Principal Secretary ASALs and Regional Development Kello Harsama, said over 20,000 families across the Coast required humanitarian aid including food and shelter.

“To cushion those affected, we have released rice, beans, 300 pieces of mattresses, and other foodstuff for them. The government is ready to support those affected,” said Harsama.

Those missing include two Kenya Revenue Authority officers whose vehicle was swept away by the raging floods into the Ramisi River on the busy Mombasa-Lunga Lunga Highway on Friday.

KRA Southern Region Regional Coordinator Lawrence Siele said an intensive search and rescue operation by a multi-agency team was underway.

“The two officers were traveling to Mombasa from Lunga Lunga, where they are stationed when the accident happened. The vehicle was swept by floods at Ramisi River in Kwale County,” he said.

In Changamwe, Mombasa, a student died after she reportedly stepped into the electrified flood by a faulty electric wire.

On Friday, Kenya Power disconnected electricity to most parts of Mombasa to avert disasters.

Mombasa Governor Abdulswamand Nassir said Bamburi, Bombolulu, and Utange were the most affected areas. “Parts of Mombasa like Utange, Old Town, and Bofu could have sunk into the ocean if we did not have a working drainage system. The intensity of the rain has never been experienced in the county,” said Nassir.

He added: “Working hours at three hospitals are extended to deal with emergency cases. We have also introduced food rationing for affected families.”

Heavy rains have been pounding the Coast for the third day, with the weatherman predicting it to continue until early next week.