Flash Floods Wreak Havoc in Kenya, Seven Children Drowned in National Park


Monicah Mwangi
The Star
Fri, 27 Apr 2012 16:54 CDT
kenya flood

© KIPLANG’AT KIRUI
A man in Narok town tries save his chair from floods.
Weeks after the long rains season started, Kenyans are feeling its effect as floods wreak havoc in most parts of the country. A church retreat turned tragic when seven youths drowned because of flooding at Hell’s Gate National Park in Naivasha.

Already the floods-prone area of Budalangi has received floods alert after River Nzoia broke its banks. In Kisumu, heavy rains rendered hundreds homeless and destroyed a key road linking the city to Kisii town.

In Nairobi, the most affected area is Syokimau where many houses were submerged after heavy rains on Tuesday which extended the whole night, cutting drainage systems and roads.

A wall surrounding an upcoming building collapsed after a river broke its banks. According to an eyewitness, Origin Shamala, who was working at the building when the wall collapsed, nobody was hurt during the incident. “We managed to run for our lives despite the heavy rains,” he said.

While the land level can be blamed for floods in Syokimau, the cause in Pipeline where water flowed into people’s houses and businesses is said to be man-made.

Residents say poor drainage is the cause of the crisis they have been going through. Laban Mororo, a businessman and a resident in the area, says the problem has been there for years and urges the city council and the government to work on it. “I am counting losses for something which can be solved,” he said while drawing water from his business premise.

Worried of cholera outbreak, another resident, Paul Chumo, says the rain water mixes with sewer, posing a great danger to families. He also adds that security lights cables in the area pass underground and can be disastrous if they get into contact with water.

Many families in the area say they were woken up by water in their houses and were forced to start clearing it up at night. “We pour the water outside the house and since it has nowhere to go it eventually comes back unless the rain stops,” said Francis Ngugi, a shopkeeper.

Twenty nine people have so far died from floods countrywide with scores more displaced, according to the Red Cross. People living in flood-prone areas have been urged to move to safer grounds to avoid more deaths.

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