15 March 2018

Kenya: Heavy Rains Flood Nairobi

Photo: Wanderi Kamau/Daily Nation
Only boda boda operators were ferrying commuters in Riverside after matatus got stuck.

A morning downpour has flooded parts of Nairobi City, wreaking havoc for commuters headed to work.

The rains that started a at 6.30am virtually brought business to standstill in the Kenyan capital.

The first casualty was the flow of traffic during the morning rush hours, with vehicles getting stuck on the roads.

'RIVERS'

Floodwaters filled major streets and avenues in the city, with some commuters wading through it as they alighted from matatus.

While the entire central business district was under water, some of the flood hotspots included Moi Avenue, Tom Mboya, Racecourse Road, Ronald Ngala Street, Haile Selassie Avenue, Temple Road, Kimathi Street among others.

Outside the CBD, Enterprise and Lusaka roads resembled rivers.

Major roads and highways such as Mombasa Road, Uhuru Highway, Jogoo road and Limuru Road were also adversely affected.

In Nairobi West, at the T-Mall junction, a social media user tweeted a video of a flooded road, cautioning fellow users to approach with care or avoid completely.

Along Ojijo Road in Westlands, cars were pictured nearly submerged in storm waters due to the rains that caught some Nairobi residents unawares.

Some had to remove their shoes as others parted with a few coins to get 'lifts' from porters and pull carts.

Others remained stranded in the streets after making it to the central business district, only to find their passage to their workplaces flooded.

Lots of clusters of Nairobians could be seen sheltering from the rain underneath the trims of buildings, pondering on how to cross the heavily flooded roads.

Some pedestrians could be heard making calls to cancel appointments that were to be take place in the early morning as some contemplated going back home.

For those who braved the rain to get to their workplaces urgently, wet clothes and shoes was the order as they tried in vain to find dry spots.

Tech-savvy residents, in a bid to air their morning frustrations, took to social media and posted their experiences in the rainy morning.

They flooded social media with pictures and short videos of their flooded neighbourhoods, streets and roads, with many imploring Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko to fix Nairobi’s drainage systems.

There are fears of heavy floods in slum areas where Nairobi River passes, including Mathare, Mukuru and Sinai.

The floods, once again, cast a spotlight on the sorry state of drainage in Nairobi, a perennial problem that both national and county governments have failed to fix for decades.

Some parts of the biggest commercial hub in East and Central Africa still use drainage and sewer lines that were constructed during the British colonial rule in 1950s and early 1960s.

This is despite the capital's population expanding more than six times over the last six decades.

Nairobi, with a population of more than 4 million, is both the seat of government of Kenya and the city county headquarters.

The heavy rains pounding most parts of Kenya are likely to continue, according to the Kenya Meteorological Department.

The department on Friday issued an alert of impeding heavy downpour with possible devastating effects in many parts of the country beginning this week.

Acting Met director Peter Ambeje said heavy rains would start on Monday, March 12, in many parts of Kenya, including Nairobi and Mt Kenya region.

He also mentioned are Kisii, Kericho, Bomet, Narok, Migori, Kakamega, Kajiado, Nakuru and Kwale.

Western, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Northern, Southeastern, Coast and Central are already experiencing heavy rains.

Reports by Njoki Chege, Thomas Rajula, Harry Misiko and Bernardine Mutanu.

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