Floods render Kajiado's Magadi Road impassable

Kiserian-Magadi road

A section of deplorable Kiserian-Magadi road at Kamukuru near GSU camp on March 3, 2024.

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

Flash floods have paralysed transport on the Kiserian-Magadi road for the past three days, affecting dozens of people in the region.

On Friday night, floods submerged the narrow road at Kamukuru, making it impassable. The road remains the only access route to and from Magadi town.

Apart from the fresh gaping potholes, some sections of the tarmac road near the General Service Unit (GSU) camp section have been washed away by the floods, leaving deep gullies on both sides. Water which continues to seep from underground, flows across the road.

The Kamukuru section along the 84-kilometre Magadi-Kiserian road is considered a lowland and is the natural outlet where all the water from Mau-Narok drains into Lake Magadi and partly into Lake Natron via the Ewaso Nyiro River. It receives flood water from Loitai and Nkuruman escarpment. Here, raging flood waters are experienced early in the morning or afternoon during the rainy season.

 On Sunday, the management of Tata Chemicals Company deployed its earth movers to create a temporary diversion route for motorists along the muddy terrains.

"The diversion is a temporary relief for the locals while they wait for the authorities to take action," said a tractor driver.

However, locals claim that the diversion will be short-lived given the expected long rains will cause heavy flooding in the region. 

"The entire road has been submerged by the heavy flooding, we had no choice but to stay in our homes, the lowland stretch is tearing fast," said Nancy Saruni on Sunday.

Attempts by the Kenya Rural Road Authorities (KeRRA) to repair the road over the past two weeks have proved futile, although the road authority had managed to repair some other rain-affected sections two weeks ago.

"The Kamukuru section is a natural wetland that requires a high level of expertise in road construction," said a KeRRA engineer on Sunday,