The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Nature's Fury As Rains Wreak Havoc

The heavy rains in the country may come as a blessing in disguise for farmers who are yet to plant. Some farmers have no fertilisers while others have been forced to wait until the rains subside as the farms have become too muddy for them to plant.

However, the weatherman says that in Western, Lake Basin and Highlands West of the Rift Valley, the rains could go on until June.

In Central region, rainfall will continue until mid May with a possibility of going on until June.

"In most parts of Rift Valley and in Nairobi, the rains could go on until the second to third week of May. In the coastal strip, it will continue into June while in North Eastern, the rains could go until the first week of May," Kenya Meteorological Department assistant director Ayub Shaka said.

Shaka is urging residents in Muran'ga, Mukurwe-ini, Keiyo and Baringo areas in Central and Rift Valley regions to be cautious as the heavy rains could trigger landslides.

Special Programmes PS Andrew Mondo says Kenyans should heed the warnings given by the weatherman.

In Kisumu and Homa Bay counties, more than 1,650 people have been displaced by floods, according to the Kenya Red Cross statistics. Some 330 households have been affected.

Red Cross West Kenya regional health officer Benson Simba warned that with the continuing rains, more people are likely to be displaced.

"Due to heavy downpour in some parts of the region, several rivers like Auji and Nyamasaria in Kisumu have broken their banks causing unprecedented damage. Many households have since been marooned and many people affected," Simba said.

The worst hit areas are Kisumu East, Nyando and Nyakach districts within Kisumu county and Rachuonyo district in Homa Bay county.

"The number of children below the age of five who have been affected stands at 320,500 females and 315 males hence the need to improve healthcare among the population," he added.

Simba said classes have been disrupted in five schools in Kisumu and Nyando districts, noting that both Kassagam primary and secondary schools in Kisumu, St Alloys primary and St Joseph secondary schools have been marooned. Nyando Miruka Primary School is also affected.

"The floods have destroyed business premises and a section of Nyamasaria bridge along the main Nairobi-Kisumu highway. This has affected traffic flow," Simba said.

He warned that River Nyando and seasonal rivers like Ayweyo, Nyamasaria and Ombeyi are likely to break their banks soon.

Nyando and Nyakach are perennial flood zones in Kisumu county and residents have called on various organisations and the government to come up with a long-term solution to the menace.

In Budalangi, residents have adapted to an annual programme of moving to higher and safer grounds whenever the area floods.

"Though measures have been taken to confine the water in the rivers, which causes floods when massive water flows from the bursting River Nzoia, more reinforcement needs to be done to tame the water," Shaka said.

The energy infrastructure has not been spared by the heavy rains as tree branches have been falling on power lines disrupting supply in parts of Nairobi.

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