Kenya: Villagers Marooned By Floods in Makueni Appeal for Help

2 December 2019

Three men marooned on a small island nestled at a section of Athi River which passes through Yikivuthi Village in Makueni County spent the third day in the cold Monday amid desperate appeals for assistance.

Mr Mutuku Tila, Mr Mutei Kiambi and Mr Muinde Kasuu were marooned on Saturday when sudden raging waters broke the river's banks.

The three casual labourers, who burn charcoal for a living, were reported missing by their families on Saturday and spotted the following day perched on rocks on the small island.

Worried residents immediately reported the incident to local administrators and the police.

POLICE CHOPPER

They expected that a police chopper, which rescued two other people who had been stranded on the upper section of the river, would save the three men.

"We have been expecting, in vain, that the water will subside. We urgently need a chopper to rescue the three," said Mr Daniel Kimiti, a resident.

"The chopper did not get to this side of the river on Sunday," said Masongaleni Chief Pius Kamuya who joined dozens of residents keeping vigil along the river bank.

SLEEP ON ROCKS

"We have been signalling them not to risk wading through the raging waters," he told the Nation on Monday.

"They sleep on rocks. We guess they survive on wild berries. They need to be rescued quickly before the raging waters cover them up," he added.

There are fears that the three could be washed away unless they are rescued quickly as it rained heavily in the region Sunday night.

According to Makueni County Commissioner Mohammed Maalim, heavy rains which have been pounding the region have led to the deaths of 10 people in the region.

DROWNING

Most of the victims drowned as they attempted crossing flooded rivers.

Three others, including a six-year-old girl, died in Kilungu over the weekend after their homes were covered by mudslides.

"We have relocated 16 households with more than 60 residents to three schools in the mudslides-prone areas," said Mr Maalim.

"Kenya Red Cross and the county government are providing the affected families with food and other essentials."

He cautioned residents against wading through flooded rivers.

POLICE RESCUE

Meanwhile, the Kenya Police Airwing has deployed five of its seven operational helicopters to rescue victims of floods as heavy rains and overflows continue to ravage various parts of the country.

On Sunday, the airwing rescued three victims of floods who had been marooned by floods for as many as three days unable to swim or find any other means to free themselves.

"We rescued one person stranded in 14 Falls in Kilimambogo, Thika and two others in Makueni," Colonel (Rtd) Rodgers Mbithi, the Kenya Police Airwing boss, told Nation.

The police aircraft that are operational include two Augusta Westland helicopters, two Russian MI-17 choppers and two Bell helicopters.

One of the Augusta Westland helicopters is dedicated to the Presidential Escort Unit while another chopper is deployed in Boni Forest in the ongoing surveillance operations aimed at flushing out Al-Shabaab militants.

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