24 April 2019

Kenya: Woman Killed as Flash Floods Hit Nairobi After Downpour

A woman died after she was swept away by flash floods following a day of heavy rains in Nairobi.

The woman, identified as Vivian Awour, 23, was in her tin shack on Tuesday in Silanga area. The cabin erected near a stream was swept away after it broke its banks following the heavy downpour.

Kibra Sub-County commander Michael Muchiri confirmed the death saying, the body was retrieved on Wednesday and taken to City mortuary while her family was also informed of her death.

Mr Muchiri, however, allayed fears that the number of those who lost their lives might have been three after unconfirmed reports indicated that the woman was swept away with two children.

"There had been some unverified reports initially that two children had also been swept away by the floods. We confirmed that it was mere speculation. It's only the woman who lost her life," he said.

DRAINAGE

But even as the heavy rains continue to pound the capital city wreaking havoc, the county government has been caught napping with no plan in place to mitigate the effects of the floods.

Deputy Director of Disaster Management and Coordination at City Hall, Mr Brian Kisali, said the county is working with commissioners at Nyayo House to make residents aware of the effects of the expected rains as well as unclogging drainage across the city.

"We're working in coordination with regional commanders to sensitise people living along river banks to move away from such places to safer grounds, and also unblocking the drains," Mr Kisali said.

County Roads and Transport Executive Hitan Majevdia passed the buck to the Environment department, saying management of the effects of rain is not in his docket.

ENCROACHMENT

With heavy rains expected to intensify in the coming days and flash floods already experienced in some areas in the capital, including Kipande Road, Ojijo Road, sections of Thika Road, and Westlands and South C, questions have been raised about the much-publicised unclogging drive by City Hall.

Blocked drainage and storm water systems have been highlighted as the biggest flood contributors in Nairobi.

Last week, City Hall announced that it had already unblocked 70 per cent of drainage in the city's flood-prone areas, with the rest of the work set to be cleared this week in readiness for the long rains.

During an inspection of the unclogging drive across the 17 sub-counties last week, Mr Majevdia said county engineers had identified the flood-prone areas and the county had made available six flushing machines for the exercise that began two weeks ago.

He cited encroachment on road reserves and indiscriminate dumping of solid waste into drainage systems as the causes of frequent blockage of drainage systems in the city.

He also cited the refusal or non-cooperation of people who have developed roadside activities as some of the impediments towards realising a flash flood-free Nairobi.

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