16 May 2012

Kenya: 100 Displaced in Gucha Amidst Fears of Landslides From Floods

Hundreds of villagers have been evacuated in Nyamache district after fears that a landslide might occur in the area. The more than 100 people were moved after huge cracks developed in their land at Riontweka village. More than 25 families are affected according to area DC Stanley Too. The affected people are camping at Emanga PAG church.

Several houses, crops and three footbridges have been destroyed following heavy rains which have been pounding the area. Too said they have written to the Ministry of Special Programmes to seek assistance for the affected families. "The affected residents need tents and other non-food items and we have communicated to the concerned authorities," said Too.

Public Works minister Chris Obure who is also the area MP and Gucha district environment officer Vincent Ochieng visited the affected area. Ochieng said there was a possibility of a landslide happening in the area. "As at now, we have advised the villagers evacuated because the ground is still unstable," Ochieng added. The official noted that the cracks were detected by villagers last week and have spread in the whole village. James Nyambage,74, an elder said it is the first time the cracks have been witnessed in the area and appealed to the government to assist them. Nyanza provincial geologist Martin Nyakinye yesterday said what is happening at the village is called soil creep on a big scale.

Speaking from the village where he was mapping it out yesterday, Nyakinye said there are east-west fissures that cut across homesteads and if rains continue, the houses at the differential settlement may collapse He warned residents to keep off place at night as ground is likely to be saturated and landslide may occur "They will continue putting up at the church and work in their farms during the day," he said in a telephone interview.

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