KENYA: Five Die in Raging Flood

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Five people have died in various parts of Kwale County after they were swept away by raging floods as heavy rains continue pounding the Coast region. Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya Wednesday said three school children were among the five who perished.

In a statement, Mr. Mvurya said two adults were swept away in Mwaluphamba and Mbuvuni rivers in Kinango sub-county. He added that the children were washed away in Mwangulu (Lungalunga sub-county), Kilindini and Dziani (Matuga sub-county). The five died on Tuesday.

The deaths bring the number of people killed by floods in the region since Monday to 14.

Mvurya said more than 1,500 families in Kwale were in need of relief food and shelter. He said water services in Kinango had also been affected after a pipeline was washed away by the floods. “The county government has set up a disaster management committee to help mitigate the effects of the floods as we repair damaged bridges and water pipelines to restore services,” he said. This happened as over 20 families in Darling village in Diani, Kwale County, spent the night in the cold. This was after their houses were submerged by floods following the ongoing heavy rains. It has been raining continuously in the area, with flash floods and swelling drainage systems a common occurrence. The affected families have started shifting to safer places.

Everlyne Kendi, a resident, said it started raining in the night and the flood waters got into their houses. “All my household items are soaked in water. I want to shift because I cannot wait for further damages,” said Ms. Kendi.

The county government has been blamed for the poor drainage system that has seen the large volumes of water cause havoc. Hamisi Mwero, a resident, said this would not have been a problem had the drainage system been done properly. Other areas affected are Manolo and Mwache in Kinango. At Manolo, a section of a bridge connecting Kwale to Kinango Road has been washed away by flash floods, cutting communications completely.

Elsewhere, the national government has distributed relief supplies in Taita Taveta to victims of the perennial cross-border floods from Tanzania. Taveta Deputy County Commissioner Henry Wafula Wednesday said the Government had so far distributed 1,000 bags of 50kg of maize. Mr. Wafula said the State had also sent out 250 bags of beans and 50 cartons of vegetable oil to the flood and famine-stricken residents. “It is true there have been floods in the recent past but no one has been displaced as reported in one of the dailies (not The Standard). We are still assessing the situation,” said Wafula. He said the District Steering Committee, whose membership is drawn from the national and county governments, would decide on who should benefit from the relief supplies. The Kenya Red Cross reported that more than 5,000 people had been affected by the “foreign” floods in the past one week, as heavy rains continued to pound the region. A spot check by The Standard revealed the floods had left a trail of destruction, damaged roads and paralyzed learning in Taveta and Taita Hills, all regarded as flood-prone areas. The worst hit areas include Kimorigo, Challa, Njoro, Bura Ndogo, Mata, Jipe and Riata.

At Kimorigho, hundreds of acres of banana plantation were submerged in water while other crops and animals were washed away. Meanwhile, a situational analysis report by the KRCS warned the region could be facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis if measures would not be put in place immediately.

Last week, heavy rains destroyed 290 households, forcing thousands of local residents to spend the night in the cold in Taveta. More than 50 latrines were reported to have been destroyed, forcing the locals to engage in open defecation, which raises fears of waterborne diseases in the area.

On Wednesday, hundreds of residents blocked the Mwatate-Taveta road for hours to protest over frequent flooding. Meanwhile, hundreds of vehicles were stranded on either side of the Likoni crossing in Mombasa. Many were stranded as a result, with the two ferries that operate in the area withdrawn due to strong currents caused by floods. Kenya Ferry Services Managing Director Bakari Gowa said the two ferries that operate across the channel were not able to navigate across the waters. Tanzania-bound buses that leave Mombasa at exactly 6.30am and cross the ferry by 7am were still waiting to cross at 9am Wednesday.

Source: Standard digital