Pending danger: CS Kindiki issues red alerts on flooding and evacuations


A woman in Laza Mwembeni village in Tana River County leads her children to safety as the River Tana swells up.

Photo credit: Stephen Oduor | Nation Media Group

River Tana is likely to burst its banks and cause flooding in Garissa, Tana River and Lamu counties after filling up of Seven-Forks Dams, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has warned.

As of Wednesday morning, Masinga Dam, which is the first and the largest, had reached its maximum capacity and started spilling through the managed structural spillways.

“However, the Masinga Dam spillover does not present obvious spillover effects into the cascade dams of Kamburu, Gitaru, Kindaruma and Kiambere,” said the CS in a statement yesterday.

 Prof Kindiki, however, cautioned that any further precipitation is likely to cause the spillover to cascade to the other dams with greater flooding effects being likely in the settlements contiguous to Kiambere which is the last water reservoir.

“In the likely event of further precipitation within the Tana River and River Thiba catchment areas in the coming days, River Tana is likely to burst its banks downstream leading to significant flooding in the Tana Delta, Garissa and Lamu counties,” he added.

 The ravaging effects of the torrential rains is also likely to catch up with residents from the western parts of the country.

 If the rains continue beyond the prevailing levels, said the CS, communities along lakes and rivers in Homa Bay, Siaya, Busia, Nyando, Nyakach and Muhoroni as well as low-lying areas in Migori, Kakamega and Vihiga risk flooding.

To avert any calamity, Prof Kindiki said the government might be forced to issue evacuation orders in various parts of the country to secure public safety.

 Low-lying areas of Narok, Kajiado and Mombasa are also at a risk, as well as hilly areas traditionally prone to mudslides particularly in Makueni, Nyeri, Murang’a and West Pokot counties.

“On the other hand, urban areas with clogged or poor drainage and public or private water reservoirs across the country may also flood if the precipitation continues uninterrupted in the coming days,” said the alert.

Members of the public are hereby notified to exercise caution, plan their movements and avoid risky behaviour on moving waters, said the CS.

The Multi-Agency Disaster Management team which was established during the 2023 El Nino rains has been reconvened to ensure a coordinated, whole-of-government-approach to monitor the situation.

Kenya Red Cross Society and relevant national and international humanitarian agencies have also been co-opted to work with the government to provide a coordinated response.

In Kisumu County, deadly flooding has displaced 600 families and submerged homes in Nyando.

Kakola Ombaka Sub-Location Assistant Chief Neto Awich said 626 families have been forced out of their homes since the first incident of flooding was reported earlier last week.

The displaced people are camping at Ombaka Primary School and Ombaka evacuation centre after a downpour on Tuesday pushed them out of Nyamasao Primary School where they had sought temporary shelter for a week.

“Some 246 families are being housed at evacuation centres while the remaining 380 have moved in with relatives and friends living on higher ground, “said Mr Awich.

“The flooding has submerged villages such as Kasiwindi South, Kasambula, Kanyipola South, Kaloo North, South Tura, Wang’aya and Kamwanda.”

The administrator said 430 acres of land have been submerged, at least 720 chickens swept downstream and an unknown number of domestic animals killed.

Mr Awich said flood victims in Nyando have reported cases of waterborne diseases such as schistosomiasis and typhoid.

“A number of residents have lost their cattle. As we continue to move the people to higher ground, animal carcasses have become a common picture in the area,” he said.

Joseph Abong’o, one of the flood victims, said they were forced out of Ombaka Mixed Secondary School and the Nyamasao Dispensary where they had initially sought refuge.

“Our current camp is also at risk of being submerged if the backflow persists,” he said.

The displaced people said they are in need of food.

Additional reporting by Angeline Ochieng