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Seven killed, over 57,000 displaced as floods rage on

By Standard Team | May 8th 2020

Ongoing construction at Shibale bridge in Matungu subcounty. The bridge was washed away after River Nzoia broke its banks cutting off transport on Kakamega-Bungoma road. [Nathan Ochunge/Standard]

At least seven deaths have been reported in the last 48 hours linked to the ongoing heavy rains in Western region. Five of them are from Bungoma and the other two from Busia County.

The raging floods have also displaced at least 9,619 households, which translates to over 57,700 people. At least 700km of roads in the region have been destroyed.

A spot check by The Standard also established that over 3,300 acres of cash crops have been washed away as well as 1,586 houses. Three health centres have been closed down after they were marooned by water.

According to Western Regional Commissioner Anne Ng’etich, over 42,527 people have been displaced in Busia County, followed by Bungoma with 11,882 people. Kakamega and Vihiga counties have so far recorded 3,290 and two cases, respectively.

“Budalang’i Constituency is the worst hit by the floods. Evacuation of victims to safer grounds is ongoing. We have deployed eight lorries with security officers and three motorboats to help with the evacuation,” Ms Ng’etich said yesterday in Kakamega town.

Flooding in Budalang’i is being caused by the backflow of the Lake Victoria water. Matungu, Mumias East, Mumias West, Navakholo, Lugari and Likuyani sub-counties of Kakamega have been classified has high risk areas. 

In Bungoma; Bumula, Webuye West, Bungoma East and Cheptais are prone to floods and landslides whereas in Busia; Bunyala, Teso North and Samia sub-counties are high-risk areas.

Elsewhere, a delegation of government officials overseeing resettlement of families affected by landslides in West Pokot County were stuck for hours as heavy rains pounded the region yesterday.

Governor John Lonyangapuo, Kenya Red Cross Society Secretary General Aisha Mohammed and other national and county officials spent several hours wading through dilapidated Kapsait-Kapsangar-Sekution road.

Long trek

They were heading to Nyarkulian area in Pokot South Sub-county to resettle families that were affected by floods and landslides in November last year.

Prof Lonyangapuo had to trek for over three kilometres on the muddy road currently being rehabilitated by the national government.

“Disaster management agencies should quickly intervene to save the situation in Lelan and Tapach wards,” he said.

In Usonga ward, Alego Usonga Sub-county, more than 2,000 residents displaced by floods after River Nzoia burst it banks will receive free health care from the Siaya County government.

The county government yesterday set up medical clinics in the camps where the displaced residents currently living. Governor Cornel Rasanga said the clinics will have medics who will take care of any resident who falls sick at the camp.

The medical camps have been set up at Sidundo, Sodom, Lunyu, Nyambare and Mahero camps. Rasanga said his administration had allocated Sh7.8 million to address the plight of those affected.

In Murang’a, several roads have been rendered impassable by the rains.

The affected roads are those near Aberdare Ranges, following incidents of mudslides caused by heavy rains on Wednesday night.

Mathioya Deputy County Commissioner Kipchumba Rutto said St Mary Gitugi Muthangari-Gacharage-ini roads have been closed at Runyeki and Mioro, respectively due to landslides.

Several homes have been marooned by water and residents directed to re locate to safer grounds.

In Meru, residents of Muthara in Tigania East are unable to access Muthara Police Station, as heavy rains have rendered the road leading to the station impassable.

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