KeNHA temporarily closes roads in Nairobi as floods wreak havoc

Pedestrians and vehicles jostle for space along a flooded section of Enterprise Road, Nairobi. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

City roads and petrol stations were flooded following heavy downpour.

Motorists plying the city highways were also stranded after they were rendered impassable on Wednesday morning. Along Raila Odinga way, a petrol station was marooned by floods near T-Mall.

The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) directed the temporary closure of petrol stations affected by floods across the country.  

In an official statement, EPRA said that floods can damage petroleum underground storage tanks, compromising the quality of products dispensed to motorists.

"The presence of water in storage tanks affects the quality of petroleum products, potentially causing vehicle breakdowns," the Authority cautioned.

The Lang'ata Road roundabout intersection was also flooded.

At the Karatasi Industry along Nairobi's Enterprise Road, several staff were rescued after they were trapped for more than 12 hours after the premises were marooned by floods that saw the road temporarily closed. 

"We were called by the company boss that five workers had been stuck inside the premises. We have managed to rescue all the employees and no serious casualties are recorded at the moment. They have been taken to safer ground for further medical check-up," Henry Rotich, a security team leader said.

The floods also led to deaths in the city and destruction of property.

By last evening reports indicated that one more person died in Mukuru kwa Ruben slums in Nairobi. 

Many roads and bridges were also destroyed by floods. Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja said that they have started the reconstruction of bridges that were destroyed by floods.

Speaking during Labour Day celebrations at Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi, Sakaja said the country is grappling with challenges including loss of lives through floods. 

“We have 17 bridges that were affected by floods, and I can confirm to you Mr President that as we speak now, the reconstruction of those bridges has started to make sure our children can be able to go to school and cross over with ease,” he said.

He said the county government will evacuate the Nairobi dam to prevent accidents.

“With the disaster that has befallen us, I think the public now appreciates even more the efforts that President William Ruto is making towards affordable housing which will be of great help,” said Sakaja.

He urged Nairobi residents not to go back to areas that have been affected by floods to prevent loss of lives as rains continue pounding the country.

Motorists plying Thika Superhighway and Thika-Garissa Highway were stranded for hours due to floods following a heavy downpour on Tuesday night.

Transporters and commuters were caught up in a heavy traffic snarl-up extending from Gatitu to Engen along the busy Thika-Garissa highway.

The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) announced the closure of a section of Thika Road at Kahawa Sukari Drift, between the Kahawa Barracks and Kenyatta University.

"Motorists heading to Thika may use Kiambu Road and turn off to Northern Bypass to Ruiru and Vice versa," KeNHA said.

A train plying the Nairobi-Nanyuki route was also held by the floods near Bidco area for hours after the area was rendered impassable.

The water subsided after the Kiambu County government cleared the drainage.

Along the Thika Superhighway, a section of the road at the Juja bridge underpass was flooded causing a huge traffic snarl-up that extended from Kimbo area to Juja town.

Motorists called on the Government to unclog drainage and expand it to allow the free flow of stormwater.

Robert Kulendi a matatu driver who plies the route said that his home was marooned by floods which his vehicle.

He lamented that he will need about Sh120,000 to repair the vehicle including replacing the engine.

Most businesses in Juja and toll towns in Juja sub-county remained closed after their premises were marooned by floods.

Traders said that they are counting losses as most of their wares were damaged by the flood waters.

Murera ward MCA Moses Ngatha Wambiri said that the flooding along the stretch is being caused by the blockage of a section of the drainage by a contractor expanding the toll station.

Wambiri called on KeNHA to move with speed and unclog drainage to avoid damage to the road.

The ward rep noted that about 1000 families in Murera ward are currently affected by the floods. He said that the county government has already deployed earth movers in the area to drain the waters.

- Reports by Okumu Modachi, Harrison Ngola, Noel Nabiswa and Gitau Wanyoike