Kenya: 5 Dead, Hundreds Displaced as Torrential Rains Pound Counties

3 February 2020

Five people died at the weekend as heavy rains continue to pound the country.

In Makueni County, a man and a woman drowned in Muangini River on Saturday.

Their bodies were recovered yesterday by volunteer divers several kilometres downstream. Kasikeu assistant county commissioner, Arthur Wanyoike, warned residents against crossing flooded rivers.

The two accidents occurred hours after 46 people escaped unhurt after the matatu they were travelling in was swept away by Waa River in the same county. They were travelling to a Building Bridges Initiative rally in the neighbouring Kitui County.

SWEPT AWAY

In Migori County, three people died after Migori River burst its banks.

A boda-boda rider was swept away by flash floods as he tried to cross River Kuja at Madiaba bridge in Awendo sub-county, while two others drowned in Uriri and Rongo sub-counties on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Meanwhile, Kodero Bara assistant chief said a four-year-old boy drowned at Dago Kondigo in Central Kamagambo of Rongo sub-county as he swam in a dam a few metres from his home.

In Nyatike and Uriri sub-counties, several homesteads and schools were flooded, with Angugo, Modi, Nyora and Sere villages being the worst hit. About 300 families have been rendered homeless, with some camping in churches.

"What we are experiencing is worse than what we went through last year. Several people are camping at my office and neighbouring churches while a majority are stranded with nowhere to go," Kakelo Kakoth chief Sospeter Odege said.

DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Residents have called on the county disaster team to come to their rescue, saying transport operations have been paralysed.

"Three bridges serving the area were swept away after Kuja and Ongito rivers burst their banks. Our children cannot cross them to get to school. We are calling on the Migori County government to come to our rescue," said Polycarp Alego, a resident of Nyora village.

In Uriri, locals are camping at Oria Primary school, while learning at Sere, Angugo, Nyora and Modi primary schools as well as St Joseph Modi Mixed Secondary School in North Kadem Ward has been interrupted by the floods.

"We have transferred the boys to the teachers' staff room while the girls have been moved to the laboratory. Their dormitories were flooded after water spilt over one of the dykes at Lower Kuja Irrigation Scheme," St Joseph Modi Secondary School principal Tabu Oyoo said.

"We are disappointed that no emergency response team from the county has reached out to the affected families. Pupils cannot access schools due to poor roads and transport has been paralysed," North Kadem Ward administrator Serock Acholla said.

"We have a team on the ground assessing the extent of the damage as we prepare to take proper mitigation measures. We are also appealing to Kenya Red Cross and other stakeholders to join us in the exercise," said county disaster management chief officer Joshua Ngwala.

SCHOOLS CLOSED

In Kisumu, two schools were closed and hundreds of families left stranded following floods in Kakola-Kombaka village, Nyando Constituency.

"Over 300 households have been affected and have been advised to move to local churches on high grounds," said area assistant chief Jacob Ong'udi.

The administrator said the schools' boards of management will hold a meeting today to find temporary solutions.

"The floods have hampered the implementation of the government's 100 per cent transition policy. We will see to it that learners find alternative temporary spaces to continue with their studies," said Mr. Ong'udi.

CAMPING

In Homa Bay, 180 families camping at Kobuya and Osodo primary schools in Rachuonyo North sub-county are likely to miss school.

The families have been camping at the institutions since Friday after their homes were flooded when River Miriu burst its banks.

"Those displaced are mainly women and children. They moved to the school, which acts as a rescue centre for flood victims," Kobuya chief Damianus Osano said.

"We have told those who can to rent houses within local trading centres so that pupils can learn."

In Wang'chieng' location, some 103 displaced families are camping at Osodo Primary School.

The floods have also wreaked havoc in Ndhiwa, Homa Bay and Suba sub-counties.

BRIDGE DAMAGED

In Narok County, tourists, motorists and residents of Narok West Sub-county were left stranded after a bridge that links Talek trading Centre to Narok town was swept away by floodwaters on Saturday night.

Most tourists who were rescued from floods that destroyed more than 10 camps and lodges waited at the trading centre for help.

Narok-Talek road remained impassable for more than 72 hours since the heavy rains started on Thursday.

On Saturday, Narok County Commissioner Samuel Kimiti cautioned motorists against driving during the downpours.

The destruction of the only bridge in the area has cut off the region and resulted in traffic snarl-ups and significant losses for traders such as Jackline Naresoi, who transport perishable foods.

Narok town businessman William Koech asked the national government to intervene.

Truck drivers who spent two days on the road said the government should repair the bridge.

Reporting by Pius Maundu, Ian Byron, Ondari Ogega, George Odiwuor, Justus Ochieng' and Paul Letiwa.

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