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Baby killed in Kilifi, landslides feared as storms strike Coast

Kilifi, Kenya: A three-year-old baby was killed during a storm in Kilifi County last night following heavy rains that also swept away bridges in Taita Taveta and destroyed houses in Mombasa County.

Early this week meteorologists predicted oceanic and conventional rainstorms across the Coast region over three days and warned of heavy flooding in low lying areas.

The prediction came to pass when heavy rains began pounding the three counties on Thursday night and continued into yesterday leaving death and destruction in its wake. By the time of going to press, Mombasa County administration had announced contingency measures and teams to inspect the damage and destruction in slum areas amid unverified reports that several people were missing or unaccounted for.

In Mombasa, the county executive committee member in charge of lands and urban development Francis Thoya warned yesterday of possible landslides in Jomvu, Miritini, Bangladesh, Kalahari and Mishomoroni areas and urged residents to leave.

Reports from Kilifi County indicated that an unnamed baby was killed when a house she and her mother were sleeping in collapsed during a storm in Mambrui area early yesterday.

“Neighbours told us they heard a huge bang and when they rushed out they found the house had collapsed on the sleeping family.
“They tried to pull out the family but sadly the baby died on arrival at hospital. Her mother was also hurt and admitted to hospital,” said Karani, adding heavy flooding had been reported on areas near River Sabaki where residents have been asked to evacuate.

“We have successfully managed to convince people leaving along the river to relocate to higher ground due to the perennial floods experienced in the area during rainy seasons,” he said but did not identify any casualties or fatalities.

In Malindi town, transport and business operations were disrupted following the rains as most roads were waterlogged.

Malindi district has no reliable sewerage or drainage system and the roads are usually submerged in water during heavy rains.

In Mwatate, Taita Taveta, a bridge linking Mwatate and Taveta was extensively damaged by rains pounding the county early yesterday.
Provincial Administration officials said the bridge near Bura trading centre has become dangerous and warned motorists plying the busy route to be vigilant.

Mwatate Deputy County Commissioner Shufaa Mwijuma said relevant authorities were addressing the matter.

“The bridge has partly been washed away by heavy rains and we have already informed KeNHA and the Taita-Taveta County Government about it,” she said,
“If the rains continue, the bridge will be washed away and transport will be paralysed. There will be a catastrophe if the relevant authorities fail to act fast to rehabilitate the damaged bridge,” said Ms Mwijuma on phone yesterday.

The road is of huge economic importance as it links Kenya and other East and Central African countries.
“We did our part and reported the matter to the relevant authorities and it is now up to them to take action,” said the deputy commissioner.
In Taveta sub-county, county deputy speaker Chrispus Tondoo said roads leading to agricultural areas of Mboghoni, Eldoro, Kimala and Kitobo have been damaged.

The Bomani Ward representative in Taveta said the roads have been rendered impassable following heavy rains in Mount Kilimanjaro region in Tanzania.

“We have little rains in the area but floods from Tanzania are causing havoc to local farmers,” said Mr Tondoo.

“The roads leading to agricultural areas are now inaccessible and farmers cannot transport their farm produce to market centres,” he said.

The region has been prone to frequent flooding which has left a trail of destruction in the recent past.

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