Floods wreak havoc in mudslide-prone areas

Residents in mudslide-prone areas of West Pokot County are living in fear after heavy rains left a trail of death and destruction.

On Friday, a woman was killed by flash floods in Muino, Pokot Central sub-county, and on Saturday, a child was killed by lightning in Siyoi, Kapenguria ward.

The floods that wreaked havoc in Ortum on Saturday night are thought to have swept away a bodaboda rider.

Motorists on the Kitale-Lodwar motorway have been advised to take precautions after flash floods rendered the road impassable.

Wilson Chemtor, an Ortum resident, said most of the farms were destroyed and that families are now staying with neighbours as the rains continue to fall.

"We're pleading with the county government to provide us with free tree seedlings to plant on bare ground. I'd like to ask the community to plant more trees to hold the loose soil in place and prevent mudslides and landslides," he said.

He said the rain damage should be assessed and documented for future emergency response.

Fearing for their lives, some residents in landslide and flood-prone areas have begun to relocate to safer grounds. Upper Batei ward, the entire Tapach ward, upper parts of Weiwei, Lomut and Chepararia, Cheptulel area, Lelan ward, and Siyoi are the most prone to mudslides and landslides in the county, where lightning strikes are also common.

Other affected areas are Nyarkulian, Sakata, Chesegon, Chesta, Karapoy and Kokososion Sondany, Tapach, Batei, and Seker on the slopes of Pokot hills.

Pokot Central deputy county commissioner Jeremiah Tumor asked residents in affected areas to move.