25 April 2018

Kenya: Death Toll, Need for Relief Services Rise as Rains Continue

Photo: Daily Nation
On the Eastern Bypass, a lorry rolled over on an underpass after hitting a ditch.

Four people died yesterday following the heavy rains in the country.

Since the beginning of the rainy season, more than 20 people have drowned in various rivers in Mwingi, as the county continues receiving unprecedented rains.

In Mwambiu Location in Nuu, Mwingi East Sub-County, Kitui County, a mother and her two children aged eight and 10 drowned early yesterday following heavy rains on Tuesday night, which left most rivers in the county swollen.

"The mother was carrying the eight-year-old child on her back while the other child was being held by a man. The man managed to swim ashore while the mother and children drowned," an eyewitness said.


The woman had gone to visit her in-laws in Kitui, drowned together with her children as they attempted to cross a swollen river on their home.

In Sibilo, Baringo County, 40-year-old Michael Chelal was swept away by floods on his way home from Kapchepkoimet trading centre after Kibenos River broke its banks on Tuesday evening.

Two weeks ago, a 50-year-old man was also swept away by the Endao River in the flood-prone Ilchamus Ward in Baringo South Sub-County.

Tourism in the region has suffered a blow after the road leading to Lake Bogoria was destroyed by the rains.

"We fear that we will lose millions of shillings in revenue because we are heading for a high tourist season at the national reserve next month. At the moment, no tourist can reach the area," Mr James Kimaru, a game warden at Lake Bogoria National Reserve, said.


At the Coast, fear has gripped Tana River residents following a government report that the gates of the Seven Forks Dams, which are full as a result of flooding, are to be opened this week.

Opening of the sluice gates on the upper Tana River basin is likely to cause more havoc in the county, 70 per cent of which is already flooded.

"This is a crisis in the making as the water level in the river will rise beyond what we have seen so far. It is going to be much worse than what we are experiencing," County Commissioner Oning'oi ole Sosio said, adding that the Kenya Electricity Generating Company Ltd intends to release some of the water, starting with the Kiambere Dam.

About 24,000 people in the county have been displaced while 400 others are still marooned in the villages.

"We have very few boats, given the area we are covering. It is a vast area and almost 70 per cent is covered with water. And we ferry about 40 people per trip over distances of almost 60 km," Kenya Red Cross Society County Coordinator Jarred Bombe said.


The county has donated maize, rice and cooking oil worth Sh40 million to the victims.

In Kwale, the National Drought Management Authority County Coordinator Ramon Sherah said all dams are full, and that the water will last a long time to address persistent water shortages.

Meanwhile, hundreds of residents at Kakuyuni in Malindi Sub-County have lost their homes, crops and livestock after they were swept away by the River Sabaki.

Reports by Boniface Mwaniki, Florah Koech, Stephen Oduor, Winnie Atieno, Lucy Mkanyika, Charles Lwanga and Fadhili Fredrick

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