Kenya: Met Warns Kenyans to Brace for Heavy Rains As Floods Kill 20

20 October 2019

About 20 people have died following heavy rains across the country for several days.

The downpours have also displaced more than 20,000 households and left a trail of destruction.

On Saturday, the Kenya Red Cross Society told the Sunday Nation that they have documented 18 deaths so far -- four each in Marakwet, Kitui, Meru, Turkana and two in Wajir.

There are fears that the numbers could rise even as Kenya Meteorological Department warns in their weekly report that rainfall intensities are likely to increase in parts of the northeast, the highlands east and west of the Rift Valley, the southeast lowlands and the coast.

ONGOING RAINS

"The situation could worsen due to the ongoing rains and we are asking Kenyans to observe safety measures including carrying umbrellas, being on the lookout for flash floods, moving to higher grounds and not to drive, walk or swim through flooded areas or moving water," said Red Cross Communications Manager Peter Abwao.

He said they are looking at the next course of action, which is to set up camps for displaced families especially in Wajir where about 8,000 households had been displaced and Mandera where 5,000 households have been affected.

"We are currently assessing as to whether we need temporary shelters. Some have found themselves safer grounds so far, but some may need assistance until the floods subside," said Mr Abwao.

The latest deaths of two people were reported Saturday after flash floods wreaked havoc in Turkana County following heavy rain on Friday, which the Red Cross fears might have left more casualties.

FLOODS

Turkana Central Sub-County Police Commander David Mburukwa told the Sunday Nation that the two died after floods that marooned hundreds of villagers in both Turkana Central and Loima sub-county persisted.

"We have retrieved a body at Lodwar Livestock Market and moved it to the Lodwar County and Referral Hospital and another one at Loima. This is besides many livestock that have been swept away," Mr Mburukwa said.

He said that transport and business activities had been paralysed along Kitale-Lodwar and Lokichogio road after the usually dry river beds burst their banks.

The floods also washed away a tarmac road near the flooded Moi Gardens Stadium where Mashujaa Day celebrations will be held.

Turkana Women Representative Joyce Emanikor appealed to both the county and national governments as well as the NGOs to intervene.

The weatherman warned that there will be heavy rains in the coastal region including Mombasa, especially in the early morning hours over several places of the county.

ENHANCED RAINFALL

"This will then give way to sunny intervals the rest of the morning. The afternoon will have sunny intervals and at night there is a chance of a shower. Wind will be 11km/h flowing from the southeast direction," said Mombasa County Director of Meteorology Edward Ngure has explained.

The maximum temperature will be 30°C and the minimum temperature will be 24°C and the relative humidity will be 80 percent.

"Warmer-than-usual sea surface temperature has developed near Africa's east coast. Cooler-than-usual sea surface temperature has formed off the northwest coast of Australia.

This means our region (including Mombasa) has a high chance of receiving enhanced rainfall now and in the coming months," he said.

Heavy downpour pounding parts of western Kenya has wreaked havoc in parts of the region with Busia bearing the greatest brunt of crop destruction on farms.

Already, an alert has been given over floods in Teso North and South in Busia where hundreds of residents are counting losses after waters swept away their crops and waterlogged their houses.

YALA SWAMP

Several families have been left homeless in Kamolo, Katanyu and Onyunyur villages in Teso North and Akiriamasi and Ngelechom in Teso South ad Red Cross plans rescue operations while monitoring Nyando and Budalang'i that are prone to floods.

In Siaya, the heavy downpour has affected an estimated 500 residents of Yimbo East ward in Bondo.

Area MCA Francis Otiato said the rain has destroyed farmland around the expansive Yala swamp.

The MCA told Sunday Nation on Friday that besides crops, raging floods have killed animals, leaving some of the homesteads submerged.

He said Achuodho, Magombe, Bur IRO, Mago and Ndiwo were the most affected.

"Major cause of flooding in Achuodho and Magombe is the illegal weir built by the Dominion farm above initial allowable heights," he said.

DEATHS

Heavy rains continued to pound most parts of the county such as Rarieda, Bondo, Alego Usonga, Ugunja and Gem but the police in the area said no deaths had been reported, so far.

In Homa Bay, families living in low areas have been advised to move to higher ground to avoid floods. The residents appealed for government intervention.

The 68-year-old Murunga accused the government of employing stopgap measures whenever the region is hit by floods instead of finding a lasting solution.

"We are tired of being lured with relief food whenever the region experiences floods. We want the government to construct dykes similar to those in Budalang'i along River Malakisi to control water flow."

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