Hidaya: Coast beach life still paralysed

Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir gives an update on the threats of cyclone Hidaya on May 4, 2024. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Activities at most beaches at the Coast are yet to resume despite threats of cyclone Hidaya being ruled out.

A spot check in Mombasa, Lamu, Kilifi and Kwale counties Monday showed police officers were still patrolling the beachline, keeping the public away as the operators lamented about the loss of business even as strong winds and giant waves were going on.

At the Jomo Kenyatta (Pirates) and Nyali public beaches in Mombasa County, police did not take chances as they turned away anybody trying to access the beaches for leisure, fishing or business.

Nyali sub-county police commander Daniel Masaba said it was dangerous to venture into deep sea fishing following the strong waves.

Security agents exercised similar caution in Kwale as strong winds and violent waves were sweeping the region.

Kilifi beaches were deserted as most businesses remained closed. There were strong winds and large ocean waves as well.

Disaster management officers from the county government have also been manning the beaches and turning away locals who try to access the beach.

A few metres from the shores of the Indian Ocean, some coconut trees due to the strong wind.

The weekend was sunny and windy at the coast, especially along the Indian Ocean.

On Saturday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki banned beach activities on the coastline amid fears that cyclone Hidaya could make land anytime.

Fishing, swimming, and non-essential transport remain suspended in the four counties.

Mr Erick Kea, who operates a bar at Vidazini Beach, said the ban on the beaches has affected his source of livelihood.

''I have been earning a living along the shores, but the news of the cyclone warning forced us not to venture into the sea. However, I hope it passes safely, and things return to normal,'' he said.

Other affected businesses along the beach are food businesses, hawking, massage and swimming classes, among others.

The country issued an alert on tropical cyclone Hidaya after weeks of torrential rains and floods that have wreaked havoc in many parts of the country and claimed more than 200 lives.

Marine police took charge of Faza, Pate and Kiunga islands, not allowing boats heading to the Lamu East constituency to operate due to the alert.

Only one boat was allowed to ferry passengers towards that direction yesterday afternoon.

Lamu Beach Management Units chairman Twalib Abubakar said some fishermen have complied with the government's directive, while others are defying the order.

"It is not their fault to defy the order because they rely on fishing 100 per cent. They should be very cautious because of the alert as water levels have increased," he said.

There were, however, no reports of casualties or damage by yesterday afternoon as the cyclone rolled in from the Indian Ocean and made landfall in Tanzania.

Cyclone season in the southwest Indian Ocean lasts from November to April, and there are around a dozen storms each year.

The meteorological department said the strength of Hidaya lessened on Saturday after it hit the Mafia Island.

Tanzania has since announced that it was safe from the threats of Hidaya.