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Two people swept away by floods, 3000 displaced in Voi

 Kenya Red Cross officials trying to assist flood victims to salvage their household goods swept away by flash floods following heavy rains pounding in Taveta Sub County. [Renson Mnyamwezi, Standard]

Two people were swept away by raging floods and thousands were displaced in Taita Taveta county as rains continue to wreak havoc across the country.

County Police Commander Patrick Okeri said a woman and a man were among those killed by floods on Monday in the Mwatate sub-county.

He said the body of the woman was recovered in Voi while that of the male victim was still missing.

Okeri said the deceased were riding on a motorcycle in Msau before the tragedy occurred. 

“The body of the woman that was swept away in Mwatate sub-county was found at Bondeni village in the outskirts of Voi town. The other body of a man is still missing and rescue efforts have been mounted to recover it,” he said.

The deaths bring to six the number of people who have so far been killed by floods in the region since the onset of El Nino rains. About 3,000 people have also been displaced.

A week ago, three miners died while a mine they were working in collapsed. Separately, a boda boda rider was swept away by floods in Mwatate sub-county.

Yesterday, security officials said that more than 3,000 people were displaced at Msambweni and Tanzania Bondeni near the Standard Gauge Railway, while others were injured and admitted to Voi County Referral Hospital.

Several houses were marooned by floods as rescuers rushed against time to evacuate families.

On Sunday, traffic flow along the Nairobi-Mombasa highway and Voi Mwatate road was disrupted for several hours following heavy rains.

Voi Deputy County Commissioner Daniel Nduti said that more than 3,000 people were displaced by floods at Shauri Moyo and Tanzania/Bondeni populous villages in the outskirts of Voi town.

“The major challenge we are facing is poor drainage system as residents have constructed buildings along water pathways blocking the free flow of water. Institutions like churches were flooded and we are still waiting for a comprehensive report from the Kenya Red Cross Society and the county programs department that is still assessing the damage,” said Nduti.

At the same time, 36 passengers escaped death by a whisker after a school bus and a lorry they were traveling was swept away by floods in Voi and Mwatate towns respectively.

The passengers were traveling from Wote in Makueni county to Wundanyi in Taita-Taveta when the accident occurred at 3 am on Monday.

Taita Taveta county chief officer for Special Programmes and Service Delivery Unit Mwamkonu Mwanyasi, said the passengers belonging to Senior Chief Mwangeka Girls High School were all evacuated.

“The passengers had participated in the ongoing festivals in Wote town, Makueni county and were coming back home at the time of the accident. With the help of villagers we managed to rescue all the passengers on board,” said Mwanyasi.

Bonface Mutuku, a businessman, said more than 20 goats belonging to his neighbor and dozens of household goods were swept away by floods.

A resident, Pauline Nyange, said the flood victims were being rescued through the rooftops of their houses.

Voi town was cut off from Taita Taveta county after two bridges one from Kaloloni and the other one from Tanzania Bondeni along the Nairobi-Mombasa highway were flooded disrupting businesses and traffic flow for the better part of the day.

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