More deaths and huge destruction as floods menace spread to more regions

A group of youth help stranded travelers to cross the Dukanotu road along the Mombasa-Garissa Highway after it was swept off by raging flood waters. [Abdmalik Hajir, Standard]

Several regions countrywide are grappling with the ongoing rains that have led to the displacement of thousands of residents and key infrastructure damage.

Mombasa, Tana River, Kilifi, Lamu, Kwale and Taita Taveta counties are some of the areas where deaths continue to be reported.

In Mombasa, three bodies of casual workers who drowned in a flooded manhole have been retrieved.

The bodies were retrieved from the drainage system at Makupa roundabout in Mvita sub-county on Saturday night after a 24-hour operation by the county engineering department and Kenya Red Cross Society.

The bodies were removed to the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital mortuary.

The three men drowned on Friday as they unclogged manholes to mitigate the effects of El Nino in the county. Four others were rescued and taken to hospital.

Humanitarian programme 

In Tana River County, Governor Dhadho Godhana was set to meet stakeholders yesterday afternoon to roll out a humanitarian programme and assist more than 10,000 residents who had been displaced by floods.

Reports indicated yesterday that the Garissa-Bura highway had been cut off at Hirimani and a kilometre-stretch of the same road had been washed away at Mororo near Madogo township.

The governor has confirmed that the county received Sh557 million last Thursday for disaster response management from the national government for El Nino mitigation but it has not been utilised due to pending government approvals.

Godhana explained that the county had exhausted its Sh32 million budget for emergency and appealed for more support from the national government and other well-wishers.

Addressing the press in Hola town, Godhana said several villages had been cut off by the El Nino foods, adding that there was a need for urgent intervention to supply relief food to the villages.

“We are getting overwhelmed two weeks after the rains began because almost the whole of Tana is affected. We have a big population displaced and we have many Internally Displaced Persons camps all over in Garsen, Galole, Bura Gale Derthu Bangale,” he said.

He said Tana North cannot be accessed from Garsen while Masalani is also not accessible as the bridge connecting it has been submerged.

The governor said Masalani could only be accessed by chopper, boats or canoes. Other areas inaccessible include Mahono, Nyangwani and Dhiram after they were cut off.

Ruto: Military to assist in floods relief efforts

“We have other pockets of cut-off villages all over because of the effect of seasonal streams," Godhana added.

In Kilifi county, engineers on Sunday night managed to restore the Mbogolo bridge on the Mombasa-Malindi road, which was damaged by floods on Saturday morning.

Yesterday, vehicles started using the bridge after engineers fixed it.

Traffic had been diverted to the Mavueni-Kaloleni-Mombasa highway after the bridge became impassable for motorists.

Parts of Kwale County were still hit by floods, with reports indicating that a wine tapper drowned in a seasonal river near Samburu.

Last week, two Kenya Revenue Authority officials stationed at Lunga Lunga border post and a boda boda rider drowned at Ramisi river bridge following raging flooding.

Relief supplies

In Lamu County, Governor Issa Timamy has launched the distribution of relief food and non-food items to villages that were hard hit by floods.

His team, which included the Kenya Red Cross, had to use boats to access Lumshi village in Witu.

Early last week, legislators from the North Eastern region asked the government to declare the rains a national disaster.

They also appealed to the international community to come to their aid to ease the humanitarian crisis in region.

The MPs drawn from Mandera, Garissa, Wajir and Tana River counties said more than two million families were at risk of being displaced by the floods and demanded that the national government plays a bigger role in mitigating effects of the floods, which they said had claimed 52 lives, displaced over 80,000 families, and destroyed hundreds of acres of farmland.

“The situation in our region is one that calls for immediate attention and if nothing is done the women and children who are most affected will starve,” said Eldas MP Adan Keynan.

A group of youth help stranded travelers to cross the Dukanotu road along the Mombasa-Garissa Highway after it was swept off by raging flood waters. [Abdmalik Hajir, Standard]

Mandera North MP Bashir Sheikh challenged top State officials to tour the region and assess the severity of the situation.

Mandera West MP Bura Adow put contractors from the Kenya National Highway Authority on notice claiming that their shoddy works had led to the collapse of a critical bridge which has now rendered the region inaccessible.

In Makueni, four people among them the brother of Kilome MP Thadeus Nzambia, were the latest victims of the floods.

Mwina Nzambia, a teacher at Muuwa Primary in Kilome was found dead yesterday some kilometres away down River Muuwa.

In the second tragedy, a former secondary school principal, who also served as a local church preacher, lost his life along with a mechanic when their vehicle was swept away while crossing river Ivoeesyo at Kalamba in Nzaui, Makueni County.

In the neighbouring Kilungu sub-county, a 16-year-old girl lost her life when a house she was in was hit by land sides.  The fourth person died in Iani dam within Ngakaa, Makindu. So far about 20 people are reported to have died in flood-related incidents in Makueni county.

Elsewhere, several travellers were left stranded after sections of the Garissa-Nairobi highway were washed away.

Swept away

Reports indicated the worst affected section of the key highway is Dukanotu in Tana River County. Other sections swept away are Tula and Madogo.

Meanwhile, Karimenu II dam in Gatundu North, Kiambu County, has broken its banks sparking fear of flooding downstream.

Athi Water Works acting Chief Executive Officer Joseph Kamau has assured locals that adequate measures have been put in place to mitigate against water overflow and flooding.

[Reports by Patrick Beja, Hassan Barisa, Marion Kithi, Josphat Thiong'o, Stephen Nzioka, Abdimalik Hajir and Gitau Wanyoike]