Nine Dead In Kenya Flash Floods

Nine people drowned on Monday when their vehicle was swept away in flash floods in Turkana County.It was a disastrous twist of fate in an area that has been suffering severe drought and the threat of famine.

After a prolonged dry spell, the rains pounded Turkana from Sunday, causing serious floods.

The meteorological department also reported heavy rains in Kapsabet, Nandi County where 152mm were recorded in just a matter of hours.

There were rains also in Nairobi, Nyeri, Nyahururu and other Central highland areas; parts of Elgeyo Marakwet, Central Rift Valley, Kisumu, Kakamega and Cherangany areas.

In Kisumu, up to 100 families were displaced after their houses were damaged in the floods.

Assistant director of Meteorological services Ayub Shaka said the rains will persist in these areas in the coming few days.

In the Turkana West incident, district commissioner Patrick Muriira said the matatu was headed to Lokichoggio from Kakuma when it was swept by the swollen River Nawatom.

The DC and area police boss Jonathan Ngala on Monday led security personnel in searching for bodies on the banks of the flooded river following the 5pm incident near Kalobenyei area.

Four bodies had been recovered by last evening.

The DC said five other people, including the driver, managed to swim to safety.

“The floods are being caused by water flowing from Uganda escarpment following the heavy rains,” explained Mr Muriira.

There are fears that missing bodies could have been buried under thick layer of mud.

Transport operation between Kakuma and Lokichoggio were interrupted for hours after River Nakira burst its banks.

A truck driver and a conductor also narrowly escaped death after their vehicle was engulfed in floods.

“It is risky for motorists to drive along the highway as part of the road has been destroyed by the floods,” said a senior security officer by phone from the scene.

Four people, including a child, were killed last year after they were swept by floods at River Nasagel along Kakuma-South Sudan road.

“The situation is likely to get worse unless the ongoing rain subsides,” warned a policeman who has been deployed to restrain people from attempting to cross through the floods.

At the same time more than 5,000 families along River Kerio are threatened with displacement.

“The river is likely to burst its banks due to rising water volume resulting in massive displacement and destruction of food crops in the farms,” warned a government official in Turkana South.

He said a disaster management team was monitoring the rising water levels, ready to move people to higher ground.

Food crops in five irrigation schemes along River Kerio are in danger.

“The floods will sweep away crops in the farm that is ready for harvesting and further complicate food security in the food-deficit areas,” said James Kipkan, project coordinator, Turkana Rehabilitation Programme.

He named Morulem, Elliea, Lotubae, Nakwumoru and Katilu as some of the irrigation schemes to be affected by the floods.

In Kisumu, the district disaster management committee yesterday toured the affected homesteads to assess the damages incurred during the weekend floods.