Five dead as rains leave trail of destruction across the country

Over 2,500 people have been forced to leave their homes in Mandera after heavy rains persisted for more than 36 hours causing severe flooding that submerged houses and uprooted trees.

Approximately 100,000 families in Mandera East, Mandera North, and Mandera South have also been displaced due to the flooding.

In a report by Mandera South Sub County, towns such as El-wak are on the brink of experiencing a waterborne epidemic. The heavy rains have submerged and destroyed many houses and toilets in surrounding local areas, including Elhache A, Elhache B, El Hagarsu, Qorobo Shanan, Qolatati and Bulla Daadach shaman.

"The town is flooded. Almost all latrines are filled up, and the backwater from the latrines is overflowing back into water pools which have stagnated in plots, along the street and other public spaces," reads the report.

Director of the Kenya Meteorological Department David Gikungu told The Standard on Sunday the situation might not abate throughout November, which is the peak of short rains in Kenya.

"The 2023 short rains season is expected to record higher than the climatological average," said Gikungu.

"It will cease gradually but not uniformly. Some areas will have the season extend up to January 2024," he added.

The countries chief weatherman urges Kenyan to "Stay out of harm's way. Natural waterways should be cleared. Persons in already marooned places should be evacuated. Some outdoor activities could be rescheduled until it is safe to carry on"

In Nyanza, at least 100 farmers from Homa Bay County are counting losses after their farms and houses were destroyed by a heavy downpour that lasted three days.

Residents of Wahambla village in East Kanyada location were thee worst hit after River Rang'wena to broke its banks leaving behind a trail of destruction.

About 35 households had their houses destroyed by the floods. They were temporarily marooned by water making them weak with some parts of their walls collapsing.

Moses Akelo is among residents whose houses were damaged by the floods.

"We are appealing for humanitarian aid because this is a calamity," Akelo said.

The heavy rains also damaged crops in farms including tomatoes and onions. Residents decried huge losses.

"I invested Sh35,000 in the production of tomatoes and expected to get Sh200, 000 in return but my hopes have vanished due to the destruction of the crop. I appeal to the government to assist us with seeds," Kelly Ochieng said.

In Kisumu, residents of Ombaka have moved to higher grounds and have sought refuge in local primary schools after water levels began to rise.

Hundreds of families who are living in evacuation camps for fear that their condition will worsen if the rains continue pounding.

Maureen Akello, a mother of two, said she was planning to relocate with her family to Ahero town.

In Busia, at least 35 families in the Osia and Papai areas of Teso North were left homeless after their houses were destroyed by the heavy downpour.

Kakurikit Senior Chief Julius Ekirapa had earlier indicated that an elderly woman in his location, 72-year-old Pelesta Akumu, succumbed after her house collapsed on her.

Teso North Deputy County Commissioner Stephen Wambura called for urgent interventions from the National Disaster Management Authority and humanitarian organisations.

In Meru County, a middle-aged man died after being swept away by raging floods as most rivers burst their banks following a heavy downpour.

The man was swept away at Mworwara village at night while on his way home from Kiutine market after River Ikamati which flows through Igembe Central and North sub-counties burst its banks.

Locals said the victim could have misjudged the speed and depth of the water before he drowned.

Elsewhere, families living near water bodies within Lake Naivasha basin have been urged to be wary of heavy rains pounding the region.

The National Water Resource Users Association (NAWARUA) said that it has mapped out areas prone to flooding even as water levels in several bodies in the basin start rising gradually.

In the last few days, parts of Nyandarua and Naivasha which form the basin have recorded heavy rainfall leading to flash floods in some areas.

So far, one person has died in the Moi Ndabi area, 50 km from Naivasha town after flash floods from the nearby Maella hills swept her away while crossing a flooded stream.

NAWARUA chairman Enock Kiminta said the predicted El Nino phenomenon is turning out to be a reality with the intensity of the rains increasing by the day.

[By Nancy Nzau, James Omoro, Harold Odhiambo, Phares Mutembei, Mary Imenza and Antony Gitonga]