12 November 2017

Kenya: Floods Displace Hundreds, Cause Losses in Farms

Photo: Wachira Mwangi/The Nation
Residents move to safer grounds in Mwandoni area, Kisauni after rainwater flooded the area on May 9, 2017.

More than 10,000 residents of Kiganjo in Thika constituency have been displaced by floods following heavy rains that hit the area on Saturday night.

Floods were also witnessed in several other parts of the constituency including Thika town, Kisii estate, Kamenu, Ngoingwa and Kiandutu slums.

"We have been forced to seek shelter in other people's homes since the flood waters have rendered our houses inhabitable. A wall has even collapsed in one of the plots. Excavation is ongoing to create water outlets," said Joe Njoroge, one of the affected residents from Kiganjo.

Many hostels and the area surrounding Juja Police Station were also partially submerged by the floods.


Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina, Thika deputy county commissioner Tom Anjere and Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu visited the displaced residents and offered to support them.

Mr Wainaina further urged Red Cross to help erect temporary structures in aid of the displaced families.

"The county government should also move with speed and upgrade the existing drainage facilities to prevent such incidents from occurring," he said.

Meanwhile, cereal and horticulture farmers in North Rift region are counting huge losses after several acres of their crop were submerged by water as heavy rains continue to cause havoc.

The rains have interrupted harvesting of maize and wheat while horticulture farmers cannot access markets for their produce after floods rendered most roads in the region impassable.

"Some of the crops have been submerged by floods and the roads rendered impassable," said Lilian Jeptoo, a horticulture farmer from Sambalat, Marakwet East sub-county.

Several acres of tomatoes, vegetables, and passion fruit have been swept by water in Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Trans Nzoia and Elgeyo Marakwet counties.

The weatherman has warned of more heavy rainfall which will add misery to horticulture and cereal farmers where harvesting of the crops is ongoing.

Agriculture experts and farmers in the region have expressed fears of a low yield this season due to the heavy rains that threaten to damage more than 40 per cent of the crop.


A survey by the Uasin Gishu County Department of Agriculture indicates that several hectares of maize and wheat crop risks going to waste unless the rains subside.

"Due to the rainfall failure during planting season crops only experienced about 30 per cent germination.

To compound the problem, the heavy downpour during harvesting period will result in rotting leading to losses," started the monthly report.

Uasin Gishu produced an average of 4.5 million bags of maize last season but the yield is set to drop this season after the crop was hampered by dry spell and the harvest damaged by rains.

"Wheat production is a mechanical process and the rains will render the machinery immobile in the farms subjecting us to huge losses," said Wilson Kosgei, a wheat farmer from Moiben Uasin Gishu County.

The North Rift region produced horticultural crops valued at Sh13.8 billion last season up from Sh8.8 billion realised in 2015, according to an agricultural report released in May.

Farmers in Uasin Gishu earned over Sh2.2 million from 4,700 metric tonnes of passion fruit cultivated in about 350 hectares of land.

This comes as most farmers in Kerio Valley turn to cotton and rice production as an alternative source of income.


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