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Scores feared dead as floods wreak havoc

NATIONAL
By Saturday Standard Team | May 15th 2021

At least 11 people reportedly drowned and property worth millions of shillings destroyed in Machakos and Nairobi counties following heavy rains.

The heaviest death toll was recorded in Machakos where six people were swept away by raging waters in three separate incidents on Thursday night.

The first incident occurred at Itunduimuni seasonal river in Masinga location, where three people were swept away as they tried to cross the flooded river.

Flooded Ombaka village in Nyando Kisumu county as a result of the backflow of Lake Victoria. Over 2,000 households have been displaced from the village. (Collins Oduor, Standard)

Among them was a mother and her baby who were riding on a motorcycle when they were swept away by flood waters.

A witness, Duncan Mutuku, told the police that he was going home at around 10pm when he saw a boda boda rider carrying a woman and a baby being swept away by raging waters while trying to cross the surging river.

In another incident, Nzukini Assistant Chief reported that a man had been swept away by freak floods as he attempted to cross a seasonal stream near Kwa Katiku at around 7.30pm Thursday night.

At the same time, raging floods disrupted businesses in Nairobi, claiming at least five lives in Kibra  and Mukuru slums. The rains also damaged infrastructure in some parts of the city.

The floods were experienced on Thursday night when torrential rains drenched Nairobi, leaving behind a trail of destruction in Nairobi West, South C, and Dam estate.

Other affected areas include Blue Sky estate, Five Star estate, and Mukuru Kayaba and Kibra slums where roads were temporarily rendered impassable.

Residents of Mukuru struggling to find their way at broken Kayaba-Hazina footbridge across the Ngong River in Starehe constituency. May 14, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

In Mukuru Kayaba, one Victor Onyango and his friend only identified as Joseph were feared dead after being swept by waters while trying to retrieve floating planks of wood from Ngong’ River.

The two were swept away from a bridge that connects Mukuru Kayaba and Hazina estate.

Residents of Mukuru struggling to find their way at a broken Kayaba-Hazina footbridge across Ngong river in the Starehe constituency. The bridge was broken following heavy rains in Nairobi and its environs. People have experienced many problems as immediate impacts of flooding include loss of human life and damage to property. May 14, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Elsewhere in Kibra, three people died as a result of the floods and there are fears more could have been swept downstream. The three are said to be boda boda riders who were swept away while attempting to maneuver their way through the water.

And yesterday many people were counting their losses in severely affected areas. In South C, many vehicles were submerged in water due to impassable roads, with Muhoho Avenue being the worst hit, where more than 20 motorists spent the night in flood water.

“It was a nightmare, I have never been in a situation like what I experienced last night. My entire body is numb as a result of chilling cold while seated in water,” said Solomon Wahome, taxi driver.

Flooded Nyamasao primary school in Ombaka village Nyando Kisumu county as a result of the back flow of Lake Victoria. Over 2000 households have been displaced from the village. (Collins Oduor, Standard)

In Nyanza, more than 2,200 families in Nyatike, Migori County were affected by floods following heavy rains. At Kakelo Kakoth Location, some 300 homes were submerged in water, forcing locals to flee for safety.

In Lower Karapolo, 60 households have been marooned by floods while West Kanyuor location has 99 households affected by the raging waters. According to Lower Central Kadem Chief Philip Orwa, areas around Kuja River such as Lwanda were also flooded, negatively affecting turnout in schools.

In Siaya, the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) warned motorists against crossing Goye causeway after Lake Victoria waters overflowed.

According to KeNHA, the situation was caused by the increased rainfall in Nyanza, which has affected sections of the Lake Victoria Basin.

[Reports by Hudson Gumbihi, Victor Nzuma, Mercy Orengo, Kevine Omollo, Anne Atieno, James Omoro, Isaiah Gwengi and Mactilda Mbenywe]

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