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Guide Kenyans as more Earth fissures open up

Editorial
 A fissure that developed in the Maryland area within Whitehouse Estate in Nakuru following heavy rains that have left many farmlands flooded. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Ongoing heavy rains in most parts of the country expose citizens to hitherto unseen dangerous situations.

In the past few weeks, cases of swollen rivers breaking their banks have been reported. Roads and bridges have been washed away by raging water forcing its way through narrow passages.

Water unable to find its natural level has, for instance, ended up in residential areas of Nairobi, flushing people out of their homes and wreaking havoc.

Unfortunately, the floods have come at great cost to both human and animal lives. Many have been swept away by the floods. 

In Mai Mahiu, floodwater overwhelmed an entire village a week ago and caused the deaths of 60 people and an unknown number of livestock. The damage to houses and other property was massive.

While victims try to come to terms with these happenings, new, and more alarming developments are happening in Nakuru County where, in Kaptembwa village, for instance, villagers are confronted by the emergence of wide fissures that have destroyed farms and crops while posing danger to life.

The residents have been forced to flee their homes after mudslides and gullies emerged following the flooding caused by the torrential heavy rains. Earlier, a fissure appeared in the Mai Mahiu-Narok road and paralysed transport.

In 2019, a 10km long fissure appeared on the slopes of Elgeyo escarpment. Low-lying areas adjacent to Kenya’s major lakes have not been spared as they become submerged by rising water levels.

There is an urgent need for the government to take proactive measures to preclude loss of lives. Geologists should give explanations for these happenings and map out danger zones to allow the government to act in good time to save lives that could be at risk. Kenyans need to be told whether the fissures and sinkholes are part of what some scientists see as the gradual splitting into two of the African continent.

Importantly, the government should advise affected people whether it is safe to continue inhabiting those areas.

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