Residents anxious as fault lines develop in residential areas

A flooded house in Njoro, Nakuru County, on April 4, 2024. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Nakuru County residents are living in fear after flash floods seeping through underground fissures caused the land to shift, threatening lives and property along the fault lines.

Some of the fault lines have developed in residential and commercial areas in Kabasis, Kirobon and Barut.

Kenneth Milgo, a resident, said they woke up one-morning last week to find a huge crack on one of the roads in the area.

Milgo recounted that the crack started like a small hole that would swallow huge volumes of water and eventually widen.

He said the road was rendered impassable after a deep gulley developed. Power and water supply to the residents has been affected after flash floods destroyed power poles and water pipes.

Douglas Omondi, another resident, said they have never witnessed such developments.

Omondi revealed that most residents spend nights outside their homes for fear of looming disaster.

“It started as a small hole that would swallow huge volumes of water and was not easily filled. Last week a huge gulley developed,” he said.

He warned that the soil around the area is loose and could easily be washed away by water.

Lucy Orenge a resident of Kirobon said some people cannot leave their homes because of the destruction caused by the floods. 

“We don't know what is happening underground. Where this water is going,” she said.

Orenge lamented that county government officials have been visiting the area but little is being done to address their concerns.

The residents have called on the government to deploy a team of experts to study the area saying the fault lines and deep gulley are unusual.

In Barut area, residents of Kwa Michael Centre have been asked to vacate after part of the quarry sunk.

Locals claimed that several lorries and tractors waiting to be loaded with sand were buried. Nearby shops have also developed cracks.

Michael Chepkwony a resident of Barut said cracks had started developing in the area but they widened and parts of the quarry collapsed following heavy rains pounding the region.

The residents said power lines risk falling, a situation that has forced Kenya Power Company to disconnect electricity to the centre.

Four years ago, Nakuru County government stopped development plans in areas with major fault lines. 

They included Shabab, Teamsales, Total Roundabout, and Pyrethrum estates.

A survey by a team of experts from Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) and Geothermal Development Company indicated that major weak zones are found in the area.

KenGen project managers carried out the study to establish the extent of the fault lines after one of the roads was cut off sparking fears among residents of Koinange, Shabab, and Kaptembwo estates.

The study was aimed at investigating the nature of soil strata around collapsed zones, determining the depth and thickness of various soil strata, locating possible weak zones, and determining cause and remedial measures.

The report indicated that the general alignment of the weak zones showed the presence of a major North-South fault. The weak zones as per the report findings, enlarge southwards posing a high risk to infrastructure around the area.

“Infrastructure built around weak zones is at high risk, especially during wet seasons/lubrication of faults and enlargement of subsurface flow channels,” read the report.

Experts recommended that before any infrastructure or housing units are developed within the Nakuru area, a Geo-technical mapping and coring should be carried out and seismic activity be monitored.

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