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Swollen rivers wash away homes

By | Dec 7th 2011 | 2 min read
By | December 7th 2011

By Paul Gitau and Joel Okwayo

More than 16,000 people have been left homeless after their homes were washed away by floods in Tana River County.

Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) Coast Region manager Gerald Bombe said more than 6,000 people were also marooned when River Tana burst its banks.

Hundreds of acres under various crops were destroyed and an unknown number of livestock drowned

Marooned villages in Budalang'i. Over 40,000 people have been displaced from the area by floods. Photo: Renson Buluma/Standard

in the water.

Mr Bombe said plans were underway to evacuate those trapped and asked locals in low areas to move to higher grounds. The KRCS official said 16 homes have been washed away and the affected people are living in temporary camps.

The situation is expected to worsen following heavy rains upcountry. Water levels along River Tana have increased from 4.1 metres to 5 metres.

"We are informed that the water levels are increasing day after day and would like to ask the locals to be on the look out to avert any loss of lives," Bombe said.

The KRCS official said no life has been lost in the area but told the people to avoid crossing the swollen river.

The affected villages are: Serani, Kiembeni, Tawakal, Exedek, Korlade, Lazima, Galili, Ongonyo, Matomba and Kamba. Others are Miesa, Hadade, Darga and Assa.

Bombe said KRCS officials are monitoring the situation.

Elsewhere, eight houses were brought down and more than 400 people displaced by raging floods in Matungu and Mumias districts in Kakamega County.

The displaced families are now camping at Mumias Township and Emurabe primary schools after their property was swept away when River Nzoia burst its banks.

Little response

The families camped at Township Primary School were by Tuesday operating under difficulties as they lack tents and food.

"The families are in dire need of food," the school’s head teacher, Maurice Okumu said.

Mumias DC Francis Komen said the Government will assist the displaced families.

Mr Komen told journalists in Mumias town the rise in water levels was like an ambush to the residents living along the river.

Kakamega Teachers Burial and Benevolent Fund secretary Francis Ometty said families in Matungu District were moved to the school after it emerged there was little response from the Government.

"We have donated some tents and blankets but the facilities are not enough," said Mr Ometty.

Ometty said the families require mosquito nets and health services to prevent them from contracting water-borne diseases.

He appealed to the Government to step in and assist the families.

He also asked the Government to construct a proposed Sh3 billion dam in Tongaren Division in Bungoma County to control water from River Nzoia.

Construction of the dam stalled after MPs from Bungoma, led by Kimilili MP Eseli Simiyu, rejected the project. Dr Simiyu said over 40,000 people would be displaced by the project.

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