4 May 2017

Kenya: Joy of Rains After Drought Cut Short By Trail of Destruction

The ongoing heavy rains, which Kenyans had waited for with bated breath, has left in its wake a trail of destruction in parts of the country .

In Marsabit County, pastoralists are counting losses after more than 11,518 goats and sheep were killed by floods following heavy downpour on Monday night.

Poverty levels in the county could be rising as it loses millions of shillings due to animal deaths.

For instance, if 11,000 goats, each at a cost of Sh3,000, are lost in a day, that translates to a loss of Sh33 million.

A spot check by the Nation in various parts of Laisamis and North Horr constituencies showed the two regions are worst hit by floods.

Speaking to the Nation, Maikona chief Guyo Isako said herders had lost up to 5,000 goats and sheep which were swept away by floods.


"My people had gone to search for pasture on the hills and yesterday night they were calling asking for help as they had lost all their livestock to the heavy floods. More than 500 households were affected by the Monday night downpour," said Mr Isako.

Kargi chief Moses Galoro said on Monday night more than 6,518 goats and sheep died. "Some have not yet reported their cases but we have an approximate number. More than 10 donkeys were also reported dead as a result of yester night's rain," said Mr Galoro.

Residents of Bori in Marsabit County at the area where they disposed of carcasses of their sheep which were killed by floods, on Monday. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Ninety-year-old Okutu Mamo, a herder, said: "On Monday night only, I lost 150 out the 200 goats and sheep I had left after the drought. The rains washed away ten of my camels, the remaining are all weak."

Mr Galoro also said in Laisamis, transport had been paralysed.

In Baringo, Lake Baringo broke its banks putting 10 nearby schools at risk of being submerged.


Kokwo, Ng'ambo, Sintaan, Loropil, Salabani, Leswo, Longewan, Ildepe-Osinya, Eldume and Ilng'arua primary schools' classrooms were flooded.

Nearby secondary schools including Ng'ambo, Salabani and Kiserian were also flooded.

More than 19,000 people living by the lake are also on the verge of being displaced should the heavy rains persist in the next one month.

Residents, led by human rights activist Amos Olempaka, complained that floods occasioned by the lake bursting its banks had been a problem since 2004 but nothing had been done by the government to avert the situation.

"It is sad to see a lot of water go to waste every rainy season only for the drought to come back yet the water would have been harvested for irrigation. We will mobilise our people to push the government until our plight is addressed," said Mr Olempaka on Wednesday.


Baringo deputy governor Mathew Tuitoek asked residents living in flood and landslide prone areas in the county to be cautious and move to higher grounds to avert disasters.

At the Coast, roads in Mombasa County were flooded causing heavy traffic jam in the city. Businesses were also disrupted following a heavy downpour on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

The deluge partly submerged some houses in Bakarani, Maweni and Ziwa la Ng'ombe while roads were flooded in Nyali constituency, giving motorists a hard time.

A man walks past Amber apartments in Mombasa which were flooded following heavy rains, on May 3, 2017. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Traders and cart pushers desperately tried to unblock the drainage system with their bare hands especially around the Kongowea market and Ratna Square. It was a similar situation at the Mwembe Tayari market.


Residents of Barakani lamented over poor drainage system and house plans. "There are many houses which have been constructed on the drainage system making it difficult for the water to flow when it rains. My house is flooded and I have not been able to move out," said Ms Zuhura Salim.

In Bamburi-Kiembeni, residents had a hard time accessing roads as a bridge which they usually use was under construction.

"People are risking their lives by passing through a piece of wood. The place is very deep. Where are the so-called leaders to help address this issue?" asked the area community policing chairman Ali Mvua.

Reported by Irene Mwendwa, Florah Koech and Mohamed Ahmed


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