164 dead, 222,456 displaced as heavy rains pound country

Irene Githinji @gitshee

The raging floods being witnessed in several parts of the country continue to wreak havoc with the number of deaths rising yesterday following the Patel Dam tragedy in Subukia.

By last evening, the death toll stood to about 41, putting the numbers of fatalities as a result of floods to 164, since heavy rains commenced in March.

As at Wednesday evening, the government had documented 132 deaths from the 32 affected counties and another 222,456 people displaced as heavy rains continued to leave a trail of death and destruction.

But according to Kenya Red Cross Society, a total of 158 fatalities have so far been recorded, 80 injuries and 49,975 households (approximately 299, 859 people) displaced countrywide. A total of 19,223 livestock have been lost and about 21,741 acres of farmland with crops destroyed.

In Solai, Red Cross reported rescuing 39 people on Wednesday night and rushing them to the Nakuru County Referral Hospital. Search efforts are ongoing. Elsewhere, thousands of Tana River residents continue to face the wrath of mother nature.

Reports indicate that over 3,000 flood victims are threatened with starvation owing to the logistical challenges after roads were rendered impassable.

Distribution of food items pose a challenge despite being available in plenty at the government stores but cannot be distributed to the areas cut off by floods.

Tana River County Commissioner Oning’oi ole Sosio said affected areas can only be reached by air. “We have a lot of food in our stores but cannot distribute it to the affected people because the transport facilities have been rendered useless by bad roads,” he said.

Two Kenya Police Air wing helicopters that had been distributing relief food in parts of the county, he said, were recalled for a similar job elsewhere. At least three quarters of the 314,000 residents of Tana River have been affected by the floods.

So far, 64,000 have been forced to live in internally displaced persons camps, where 95,000 tonnes of cereals are required. Last week, seven people died and 11 others went missing after being swept away by floods at Fatima South Bridge on River Kandisi in Ongata Rongai, Kajiado county. In Nyanza, six people died in April and hundreds displaced.

The deaths were in Nyando, Nyakach, Chulaimbo and Muhoroni. Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said the government has embarked on rescuing those marooned, distributing food and water to the affected and restoring sanitation systems to avoid disease outbreaks.

“The government has so far distributed food worth Sh600 million and essential medication to the affected families across the country,” he said.

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