Floods claim 19 more lives, displace scores

At least 19 people have died in various parts of Kenya since Friday following the heavy rains that have been pounding the country.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been rendered homeless after their households were swept away by floods with many seeking shelter at camps. Among the worst affected areas are Murang’a, Tana River, Kilifi,Narok and Busia counties.

Consequently, the National government has assured flood victims that they will get food supplies during this time of crisis. Devolution Cabinet secretary Eugene Wamalwa, who spoke in Kakuyuni Primary School when he toured the area, said there is enough foodstuff which shall be supplied to the affected counties.

“I am here because the president and his deputy are aware families were displaced and are now camping in schools. First, we shall ensure there is enough food, we have rice, lorries of beans, cooking oil and maize on the way to be supplied to victims,’’ he said.

In Murang’a, at least eight people have died and property of unknown value destroyed by flood waters. Four were members of the same family from Inoi village in Murarandia in upper Kiharu, who died in a landslide on Saturday.

Three others are said to have drowned when River Mathioya burst its banks, causing flash floods downstream in Kambirwa. About 30 households in the area have also been displaced after their houses were marooned in water.

In Gitugi, Mathioya, an elderly man died after his house was hit by a landslide, causing massive destruction. About five incidents of landslides were reported in Kiharu, Kangema and Mathioya where scores of families were rendered homeless and chunks of tea plantations destroyed.

“The government should show us where to relocate to because almost every rainy season we are bound to have landslides”said Peter Maina, one of the residents. In Narok, one person has gone missing after an excavator they were travelling in was swept away by the swollen River Mara.

Five others were rescued and treated at nearby health facilities. Confirming the incident, Narok South and West OCPD, Anthony Shimoli said the excavator was ferrying the six people across the river, when the incident occurred.

In Tana River, 11 people have so far died out of which 10 are children including an eight month old baby. In addition, 21 schools have been closed and 70 per cent of the area population affected by floods. Addressing the press yesterday, Tana River Governor Dhadho Godhana appealed to the National government for help and said they require Sh47.4 million to mitigate the situation.

Godhana said while they are doing everything possible to address the crisis, the situation is worsened by the opening up of dams by KenGen. “This disaster has left 70 per cent of the entire population adversely affected. We have lost 11 lives to the effect of the flooding,” he said.

In Kilifi, the government evacuated over 300 people marooned by floods in Malindi and Magarini using four helicopters, including two from the Kenya Defence Forces, after River Sabaki broke its banks a week ago.

In Busia, a taskforce has been formed to establish the number of schools which have been affected by floods as a result of heavy rains, a government official has said. Busia County commissioner Michael ole Tialal said this will help the county take immediate action where required.

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