Heavy downpour exposes poor drainage in major towns as hundreds are left homeless

A resident of Sunlight Mwandoni, Mombasa County, wades through flooded pathways to access his house. Almost 100 families in the area have been affected by flash floods caused by the lack of a functional drainage system. [Robert Menza, Standard]

Several families have been left homeless following heavy downpours registered in various counties over the weekend.

Transport in the coastal city of Mombasa was disrupted as various roads marooned in floodwater for hours. The city experienced heavy floods in Bamburi, Utange, Ziwa La Ng’ombe, Likoni and on the island.

More than 100 families were displaced and forced to wade through floods to reach their houses in Bamburi and Ziwa la Ng’ombe areas.

“We have lost lots of household items and foodstuffs in the floods, and we do not know where we will sleep. The floods mixed with human waste, and we fear an outbreak of water-borne diseases like cholera,” said a Ziwa la Ng’ombe resident, Ms Mariam Omar.

In Utange, residents blamed flooding on the construction of a new road that lacks proper drainage, forcing the water into residential areas.

On the island, major roads flooded, particularly at the Makupa roundabout, forcing motorists to seek alternative routes. Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir ordered the chief officer for Transport and Infrastructure Albert Keno to unblock waterways in Bamburi area blamed for the heavy flooding.

“I am putting the developers and the county government officers on notice that they will face action for causing flooding. I will take action against developers who don’t have county government approvals for their structures or occupation licences,” Nassir warned.

In Migori County, over 40 families who were recently displaced by floods have been able to return to their homes.

Counting losses

Hundreds of residents of Nyora and Kibuto villages are still counting losses after the river Kuja broke its banks, marooning their homes and farms. “As a farmer, I’m greatly affected. The floods that have submerged our farms have left us with little to eat. Our children are also unable to go to school because of the floods,” Faith Adhiambo says.

Three sections of the dyke were destroyed when the River Kuja burst its banks, leading to flash floods.

Some of the residents were forced to move out and seek refuge at a nearby Onger Market after their houses were flooded. The floods also rendered the Kabuto Health Centre near part of the destroyed dyke section inaccessible, forcing residents to seek medical services at Onge’r town, five kilometres away.

Environment, Natural Resources and Disaster Management CEC Rahab Robi asked residents to move to safer grounds during rainy seasons.

In Homa Bay, farmers in Karachuonyo and Ndhiwa constituencies are worried that the rainfall is interfering with farming land. Willis Omulo, a farmer and environment activist, said the situation is causing worry about food security.

“The heavy rainfall is threatening food security in this area because large farmland has been waterlogged. Many farmers are now losing the crops they planted,” Omulo said.

A similar situation is happening in parts of Kanyadoto and Kanyikela wards in Ndhiwa Constituency.

In Kisumu, parents from two schools in Nyalenda slums have called on the county to come up with a lasting solution to the perennial flooding in the area.

The heavy rains are already interfering with learning activities at Kasagam and St Mark Nyabera Primary Schools. Ms Catherine Andola, the chairperson of Kasagam Primary School, says that the Auji River bordering the school is now causing havoc in the area because it is already full.

“We have a problem with this water flowing into river Auji, especially during the rainy season. Our children’s lives are endangered. This water is dirty and carries with it dangerous animals like snakes.”

In Meru County, heavy rains have been experienced in dry parts of Tigania and Igembe in the past week.

“We repaired the drainage system and other infrastructure in Meru town to ensure residents operate in a conducive environment,” said governor Kawira Mwangaza.

The upper parts of Murang’a have received little rain compared to the lower parts in the past three weeks.

Murang’a County Meteorological Director Paul Murage, there are no dangers reported following heavy rains in the nine sub-counties, but people are asked to be on high alert.

In Laikipia County, poor road networks have exposed suffering to hundreds of residents, especially those using the Nanyuki- Rumuruti road to access their destinations.

In parts of Nanyuki town, there are areas that experienced flooding of roads over the clogged drainage channels.

[Report by Patrick Beja, Anne Atieno, Eric Abuga, James Omoro, Boniface Gikandi and Phares Mutembei]