Death, destruction as heavy rains and floods continue unabated

Heavy rains

Motorists drive through a section of University Way after heavy rains pounded Nairobi on April 13, 2024.

Photo credit: Bonface Bogita | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Bomet has witnessed at least 11 deaths as a result of the floods since January.
  • In Tana River County, at least residents of 11 villages face imminent evacuation.

Unrelenting downpours continued to wreak havoc at the weekend, leaving a trail of deaths, displacement and destruction of property across the country.

The impact of the ongoing rains has hit hard in parts of the South Rift region after the fury of Mother Nature swept two people in Bomet County.

For the third day, the bodies are yet to be retrieved, despite the devolved unit’s disaster management team deploying divers at Nyangores and Kipsonoi rivers.

Heavy rains

A damaged section of a road that is under construction at Ngata area along the Nakuru-Eldoret highway on April 15, 2024.

Photo credit: Boniface Mwangi | Nation Media Group

Bomet has witnessed at least 11 people dying as a result of the floods since January, according to statistics from the county disaster management unit.

Combined with the neighbouring counties of Narok and Kericho, at least 17 people have died as the heavy downpour destroyed infrastructure, homes and the death of an unknown number of livestock.

“Most of the victims have drowned while attempting to cross local rivers and streams,” said Bomet County Disaster Management officer Stanley Mutai as he cautioned residents to exercise caution.

Out of the five who have died in Narok, four members from one family were buried alive in a mudslide at Torokiat village of Ololulnga in Narok South Constituency last Monday.

Mr Felix Kisalu, the Narok South Deputy County Commissioner, named the victims – Robert Keter, 35 years old, Faith Keter, 24, Brian Kibet, 5, and Cherotich Keter, 3.

“We lost four lives in the mudslide in a disaster-prone area where we have asked the residents to relocate to higher grounds until the rains subside,” Mr Kisalu said, adding that areas around Maasai Mau Forest are prone to mudslides.

Heavy rains

An employee at Kartasi Industries Limited in Enterprise Road wades through flood water following heavy rains on April 13, 2024.

Photo credit: Bonface Bogita | Nation Media Group

The administrator said that Ewaso Nyiro and Olashapani rivers in the area are flooded as a result and urged residents of Chepalungu, Torokiat, Pampanim, Oloisusho and Enakishiomi which are prone to floods, to exercise caution and be vigilant during the ongoing rains.

Kenya Power has been struggling to restore electricity lines destroyed in Bomet Central, Sotik, Bomet East, Konoin and Chepalungu sub-counties in Bomet County.

The destruction of the electricity lines has resulted in power blackouts in various estates in urban areas, homes and institutions in rural areas of the South Rift region.

To avert calamities, Kisumu County has launched an appeal to the National Government to help repair broken dykes in Nyando and plans to move victims to evacuation camps.

A multi-agency meeting co-chaired by the Kisumu County Commissioner and Deputy Governor Dr Mathew Ochieng Owili was held on Thursday last week, where partners such as Red Cross, Unicef, Care Kenya and Plan International said they were ready to help the county deal with the flood crisis.

“As we speak arrangements are being made to distribute food and non-food items to the affected,” said Kisumu County Chief Officer for Communication John Oywa.

“We have also sent two excavators to the badly affected areas to open up river banks and water ways to help address the floods,” he added.

Heavy rains

A section of dilapidated Second Avenue 9th Street in Eastleigh Nairobi on April 13, 2024.

Photo credit: Wilfred Nyangaresi | Nation Media Group

In Tana River County, at least residents of 11 villages face imminent evacuation as the water levels continue to rise. 

They include Samicha, Kokomo, Semikaro, Odhole, Kone Masa, Nduru, Kipao, Onkolde, Oda, Ongonyo and Chara villages.

According to the Kenya Coast Guard Service (KCGS), an estimated 350 acres of land planted with maize and green grams were swept by floods, affecting 150 farmers.

In a situational report on Saturday, KCGS said some villages with farms partly submerged in Tana River County are in Wenje, Kina Komba, Boji, and Bububu.

The raging floods flowing from upstream caused more than 10 cargo trucks to get stuck with fresh produce from farms.

Businesspeople who had gone to buy watermelons from the farms told journalists they are now counting losses as the lorries might remain stuck in water lodged villages until when the water subsides.

Farmers said they had to share transportation costs as the farms can only be accessed on boats.

Mr Bonea Kone, a farmer from Kone Masa village, said that he is counting losses worth Sh500,000 after the produce in his 16-acre farm got destroyed by the water from River Tana that spilt over to his farm.

Heavy rains

An impassible street in Pipeline estate in Nairobi County on April 14, 2024 following heavy rains in the city.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

His predicament is no different from that of Ibrahim Mohamed and Ibrahim Komoro, who lost tens of acres under green grams and watermelon.

Businesspeople like Samuel Njenga and Esther Maina invested Sh300,000 each to buy and transport the produce from Odhole Village, but the vehicle got stuck in the water.

They are now calling on the national and county governments to respond to their plight and offer support by helping them move the stuck lorries.