Coast braces for strong winds and powerful waves

Locals use canoes to get to their flooded homes at Tana Delta's Mwanja village in Tana River County. [File, Standard]

There is uncertainty among tourism players following reports that a tropical storm known as Hidaya was headed to the East African coast.

Already, the region is experiencing strong winds and waves that are affecting fishermen in Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi and Lamu counties.

Initial predictions had indicated that the cyclone was to hit the shores of the Coast on Friday at 3am. Some residents woke up early to monitor the situation.

Yesterday, President William Ruto said the Kenya Meteorological Department and the IGAD Climate Prediction Applications Centre issued a stark warning about the cyclone.

Addressing the media at State House Nairobi, Ruto said the cyclone could hit the Kenyan Coast anytime. 

“The cyclone is predicted to cause torrential rain, strong winds, and powerful and dangerous waves, which could potentially disrupt marine activities in the Indian Ocean and settlements along the Kenyan coast,” said Ruto

In Mombasa, national and county government officials have ordered beach operators to stay away until after May 5 when the storm is expected to have calmed down.

At the Nyali beach, police ordered swimmers, boat operators, fishermen, and tourists out of the Indian Ocean as a safety measure.

Nyali police commander Daniel Masaba directed beach operators and holidaymakers to vacate the beaches until experts declared that danger had passed.

Claim lives

“I have come to ask everybody to leave because there is danger of the cyclone. The storm may claim lives or cause damage and. Everybody should stay away until after May 5,” he said.

Mombasa County CEC in charge of Transport and Infrastructure Daniel Manyala said one of the measures is ensuring a proper drainage system in the island to prevent flooding. 

“We have come up with a robust measure with local Serikali Mtaani who are our eyes on the ground,” he said.

The county executive said there are people on the ground within the six sub-counties who report incidents.

Similar safety measures were taken in Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, and Lamu counties over the Hidaya cyclone fears.

Police, county government officers, and the Kenya Red Cross urged residents to stay away from the sea.

Leisure boat operator Salim Abdulrahman said business had been affected in the past week because of the strong winds. Abdulrahman said the strong winds had made it difficult to sail.

“We get one or two clients per day and we spend more than a Sh1,000 pre-trip because the boats consume a lot of fuel as they sail against strong wind. For one week now, we mainly come here to take care of our boats but there is no business,” he said.