Kenya: Passengers Stranded as Heavy Rains Paralyse Transport in Turkana

13 August 2020

A vehicle was Thursday swept away by water along the Lodwar-Kakuma road after the 100-meter wide Kawalase River broke it banks.

The seasonal river caused floods following heavy rainfall in most parts of Turkana, paralysing transport in the county.

According to an eye witness, the driver of the vehicle had miscalculated the volume and intensity of the flowing water when he tried to cross.

"As the driver, who was heading towards Lodwar town from Kawalase area, tried to cross the flooded river on Thursday morning, the vehicle was swept away but local divers rescued him," Mr John Ekalale said.

Those mostly affected by the flooding were passengers from Kitale travelling to Lokichoggio via Lodwar road. They were forced to spend the night in Lodwar town to wait for the floods to subside.

Night in the cold

Ms Lucy Amekwi said that she was traveling to Kakuma from Kitale, and with her two year old daughter, they had by 11am spent 20 hours at the banks of the river waiting for flood water to recede.

"We spent the night in the cold with hopes that the water will subside. I urge the national government through the Kenya National Highways Authority to speed up construction of Kawalase bridge to facilitate transport," Ms Amekwi said.

Mr Sammy Indimuli, a civil servant, said that he had on Wednesday travelled to Lokitaung in Turkana North Sub-County on official duty and while coming back to Lodwar in the evening, he was forced to spend the night in the cold despite his home being just two kilometres away.

Fish shortage

There has also been a shortage of fish in Lodwar town after transport from Kalokol on the shores of Lake Turkana was also disrupted.

Turkana County Commissioner Muthama Wambua warned motorists and locals against crossing flooded rivers as heavy rains will continue being experienced across the county.

At the same time, Mr Wambua asked locals living near rivers like Kawalase and Turkwel to move to higher grounds.

"The rivers will not only paralyse transport but also displace locals nearby when they swell. Turkwel River might be worse as already, there is an alert that Turkwel Dam will spill over and excess water will be channelled through it," he said.

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