Dozens uprooted from homes as rivers swell from enhanced rainfall

Some of the farms under seed maize irrigation in Majindege village in the flood-prone Baringo South after Loboi River burst its banks. 

Photo credit: Florah Koech | Nation Media Group

Dozens of families in the flood-prone Baringo South sub-county have been rendered homeless after their houses were submerged in water following a heavy downpour in the area.

The flash floods happened in Sintaan, Majindege and Loboi villages in after Perkerra and Loboi rivers burst their banks causing water to flow into adjacent homes.

Transport has been paralysed in Ilng’arua, Salabani, Ng’ambo, Sintaan, Ildepe, Lebunyaki, Leswa and Loropil and Majindege villages after roads were flooded while others were cut off completely.

Farmers in the affected villages are also counting losses after several farms under seed maize irrigation were water-logged. 

Mary Lenaseku, a resident from Sintaan, said some locals are still pondering on their next move while some have been forced to seek refuge in people’s houses in higher grounds such as Marigat.

Ms Lenaseku raised fears of an outbreak of water-borne diseases in the area due to lack of clean water and poor living conditions.

Water-borne diseases

“We do not know where we will go after this. We are still pondering on the next move as the few items we salvaged from the submerged houses are now on the roadside. The situation is very bad as young children are the worst hit as they are beginning to contract common flu due to the biting cold,” said Ms Lenaseku.

"We call on the government and other well-wishers to come to our aid. I fear the children will suffer from water-borne diseases and cold especially during this rainy season. The whole place is wet and we even have nowhere to cook let alone sleeping."

Loboi Sub-location chief Maureen Barmasai said more than five families in Majindege village have been displaced after Loboi River burst its banks, sweeping away more than five acres of land under maize irrigation downstream.

“Farmers who depend on seed maize farming as their source of livelihood have incurred huge losses as some obtained loans to till the land. As we speak, the five-acre land with crops has been completely destroyed,” said Ms Barmasai.

“More homes adjacent to the river will be affected should the rains persist. We are appealing to locals in the lower villages to move to safer areas to avert more disasters,” she added.

The affected locals complained that they have been displaced by floods over the years but little has been done by the government to end the perennial menace.

Namleyole Oyala, a resident, said he has relocated more than five times to different villages since 2005 due to flooding but the problem is far from gone.

“Last year, the Kenya Red Cross built us some houses after we were displaced but the same houses were swallowed. The government should solve this perennial menace by giving us alternative land,” said Mr Oyala.

More than 10,000 people bordering Lake Baringo and Lake Bogoria also risk being displaced should the heavy rains persist.

Several families         

Areas adjacent to the two lakes and are at risk of being submerged include Ruggus, Sokotei, Salabani, Meisori, Kampi Samaki, Loruk, Katuit and Komolion, Loboi, Majindege and Sandai villages.

The area has been affected by floods over the years and being in a lowland, all the rainwater from highland areas flows to the area.

Baringo South deputy county commissioner Job Anunda confirmed that several families in the area had been displaced and livestock swept away by the flash floods.

“There is a team deployed to assess the damage caused by the flooding and monitor the situation should the downpour persist,” said Mr Anunda.

He, however, issued a red alert to residents living in flood and landslide-prone areas in the region to be cautious and move to higher grounds to avert disasters following the onset of the rainy season.

This comes as torrential rains continue to pound the country with Baringo, a county susceptible to rain-related disasters, recording above normal rainfall.

Last year, more than 10,000 people were displaced from their homes due to the drastic rise in water levels in Lake Baringo, which also submerged adjacent structures including hotels and schools.

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