Kenya

Heavy rains continue to wreak havoc across Kenya

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As heavy rains flowed into the month of May, floods have continued to spell disaster as they displaced hundreds from their homes and destroyed infrastructure such as road and bridges.

KISII

In Kisii County, massive landslides have hit part of the region leaving about 50 households displaced from their homes.

Magenche and Bosoti-Sengera Wards in Bomachoge Borabu and Bomachoge Chache constituencies have been greatly affected.

The landslides started on Friday and have continued to cause damage.

Kenyenya Deputy County Commissioner David Mbevi confirmed 31 families have been affected, though locals claim the number could be over 50.

“Some houses were covered by soil while others are uninhabitable because water is seeping from underground. Trees and crops in farms have also been destroyed,” said Mr Mbevi, adding that they have already submitted reports to necessary authorities.

“We are asking the government and well-wishers to intervene and offer humanitarian help,” said Zachariah Bichanga, one of those displaced.

Gladys Moguche said though no deaths have been reported in the area, the destruction caused by the landslides is massive.

“We were lucky that we were not in our homes when the landslide struck,” said Ms Moguche.

Mr Joel Omagwa, former Bomachoge Borabu Constituency Development Fund Chairman, said more households in the area may be affected if the heavy rains continue.

“There is a big fault line here. Authorities need to take action to avoid deaths,” said Mr Omagwa.

BUSIA

In Busia County, two deaths have been reported after River Nzoia burst its banks and displaced over 40,000 people.

Hundreds others are marooned by the raging waters that have submerged villages in Budalangi Sub-county, spreading to neighbouring Alego Usonga in Siaya County.

A joint operation effort led by the Kenya Coast Guard Service and disaster management humanitarian organisations navigated the expansive area in a search and rescue mission for people trapped in their homes after flash floods hit the region on Friday night.

The bodies of a two-year-old girl and a boy who died at Busagwa area are yet to be retrieved while the situation has been made worse by the buildup of waters whose levels continue to rise by the day.

"We are only relying on one boat after other vessels were moved to Mageta Island to rescue people after a water bus capsized in Lake Victoria on Saturday evening," said Mr Thomas Mango of Busia Community Development (Bucodev).

Due to the shallow waters, the rescue boats could not access some areas.

"We are overwhelmed by calls from desperate people who have been trapped in their houses," said Mr Mango who is in charge of the operation.

The places affected include Bunyala Central, Khajula, Bunyala South, Bunyala West, Bunyala East and Bunyala North.

The flood victims are being are being evacuated to 15 designated rescue centres including primary schools in Bukhoma, Bunyofu, Bumadeya, Starlet Academy, Port Mixed, Bubango, Bulemia, Nandekere, Mundere, Namalo, Budalangi, Sifugwe, Bukhoma Secondary, Bunyala Cultural Centre and Mundere Campus.

Due to the government directive to avoid overcrowding at camps as a way of curbing the spread Covid-19, the locals are being encouraged to stay with their friends and relatives.

KILIFI

In Kilifi County, hundreds of families in Malindi and Magarini constituencies have lost their homes and property after River Sabaki broke its banks following heavy rains upstream.

Those affected are Miwani, Goshi, Kisiwani complex, Magongoloni, Bate, Langobaya, Chakama and Madunguni residents who have been forced to move to safe grounds while others went to their relatives' homes as the river continued to cause disaster since last Friday.

"We broke our houses and moved to our neighbourhood to set camp. Some items were swept away during the time we were moving to safe ground," he said.

Jacqueline Mweni, a Nyumba Kumi elder in Magongoloni, said residents are having sleepless nights over fears that the damage could be more severe and cause more disaster.

"The households affected are over 40 and we fear the numbers could rise," she said.

Those worst affected are the ones who had farms along the river as all the crops that were about to be harvested were washed away.

The Kenya Red Cross coordinator in Kilifi County, Cornel Ndombi, said they are currently conducting assessments in collaboration with the county and national government to assess damage and begin action on the areas affected.

TWO DEAD, TWO MISSING IN TURKANA

Two people have been confirmed dead and two others missing after they were swept away by flash floods along the Lodwar-Lokichoggio Highway in Turkana County.

Turkana West Sub-county Police Commander Suiyanka Cunningham said that the two who lost their lives were among eight occupants of a Toyota Hilux that was swept away at 6.30 pm on Saturday by Lomunyenakirienok River between Kakuma and Lokichoggio towns.

Mr Cunningham said that the eight, China Railway No. 5 Engineering Group Co. Ltd employees working on Kalobeyei River-Nadapal road, were heading back to their campsite in Lokichoggio town when the driver tried to cross the river.

"The vehicle was swept away by violent flash floods. Six managed to swim to safety while bodies of two others who had been reported missing were retrieved early Sunday morning," The police boss said.

He noted that despite a distress call from the six who had saved themselves, a team comprising of police officers, the Chinese construction company and Lotus Kenya Action for Development Organization could not access them due to other flooded rivers along the way.

In a separate incident, a Toyota Landcruiser Hardtop was also swept at around 6 am on Sunday.

The driver and his passenger who were heading to Kakwanyang from Lodwar are still missing and the vehicle not yet located.

Kawalase River has been flooded since yesterday with hundreds of motorists and villagers spending cold nights on both sides of the 100-metre wide seasonal river.

Turkana County Police Commander Samwel Ndanyi said that with support from local divers, they have launched an operation to retrieve the vehicle and trace the two.

Turkana West MP Daniel Epuyo said careless driving and poor judgement by some drivers was to blame for the deaths.

"You can't fight nature by misjudging the depth and speed of flash floods. Save your lives and that of your passengers by being patient until the water levels completely subside," Mr Epuyo said.

In Nakuru County, residents woke up to a collapsed road on Sunday morning.

While in Meru and Kirinyaga Counties, families have been displaced by rains and a boy drowned in the swollen Thiba River.

READ: Nakuru residents wake up to collapsed road.

ALSO READ: Agony as Meru families displaced by heavy rains