Heavy rains leave a trail of d***h and destruction in city

Tuesday, March 26th, 2024 03:30 | By
A flooded road in Kitengela, Kajiado county. PHOTO/Christine Musa
A flooded road in Kitengela, Kajiado county. PHOTO/Christine Musa

At least five people died and three others reported missing yesterday following heavy rains in Nairobi on Sunday night.

The rains, which started at around 9pm continued to Monday morning and flooded most parts of the city.

A police officer in Kamukunji was among those who died. Four other victims were swept by water in Embakasi, Buruburu, Gigiri and Dagoreti areas.

By yesterday evening, the body of the officer,  David Chesire, was yet to be recovered.

“The officer and his colleagues had responded to a distress call to rescue a family that had been trapped in a flooded house. They managed to rescue the family but as they were leaving he stepped in an open manhole,” Nairobi police regional commander Adamson Bungei said.

He was swept away by the raging waters.

Bungei added: “We have searched for him in vain. The search party is still on the ground.”

Most roads in the city, including parts of the Expressway and houses near rivers and major drainages, were flooded.

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja yesterday said close to 300 families were affected by the heavy rains. Worst affected were those living at Gatoto, Rurie, Mombasa Zone, Feed the Children, Riverside, Kosovo and Diamond areas.

Another 300 families were affected in Kware, 150 in Kamukunji’s Biafra and Kinyago areas, 100 families in Viwandani at Kingston and Kisii village, 200 in Matopeni Kayole, approximately 20 households in Waruku, Kangemi as well as parts of Njiru.

“Following the heavy rains witnessed in the county, causing loss of lives and widespread damage to properties, the Nairobi City County Government wishes to convey its sincere sympathies to those that have lost their loved ones, and wish a quick recovery to the injured,” said Sakaja in a statement.

He saluted the police officer who lost his life in the line of duty, saving  the lives of at least four people in Kamukunji.

“We similarly stand in solidarity with affected families that lost lives in Waruku, Kasarani and Dandora. To these families who have lost loved ones I say poleni sana (so sorry). I pray for strength to your families during this trying time,” he said.

A number of roads, including Peponi, Ojijo, Bunyala, Nairobi Expressway, Baricho and Jogoo roads, were also affected, disrupting traffic and human movement.

Emergency response

Sakaja said the county government will continue to monitor the situation closely and take necessary action to safeguard the lives and property of residents.

“I want to appeal to people living along riparian and flood-prone areas to heed the calls of our disaster management teams to move from these areas,” he said.

Sakaja directed Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company to mobilise water bowsers and deploy them to affected areas to provide residents with clean drinking water.

He said the County in collaboration with National Government, National Police Service, and the Red Cross, had initiated an emergency response programme to address and redress the situation.

All the Emergency Response Teams, including Nairobi Water and Sewerage Service, Health, Wellness and Nutrition; Mobility and Works and Disaster Management teams have been deployed to the affected areas to provide the necessary support and manage the situation.

He also urged public health officers and community health promoters (CHPs) to intensify support through distribution of water treatment tablets as well as offer psychosocial support to those affected.

“The Green Nairobi to form and deploy a 170-Green Army personnel to be available as a rapid response unit ready to be deployed to unblock and unclog drainages in hot spot areas. This will complement the normal activities of the rest of the Green Army,” said the Governor.

He directed deployment of technical staff and necessary equipment to immediately commence unclogging sewers and cleaning drainage systems in affected areas, which include, backhoes, wheel loaders, flushing units and excavators.

The disaster management team is also expected to collaborate with the National Police Service, National Disaster Operations Centre and the Red Cross in the search of missing people.

“I wish to inform the public that in case of an emergency you may reach us the following hotline number 1508,” said Sakaja.

Weather experts have said the rains will continue over the next few days.

Police have also warned members of the public to be cautious with other officials warning that there could be a disease outbreak due to overflowing of raw sewage.

The Kenya Red Cross (KRC) yesterday advised motorists and pedestrians to evacuate roads immediately if they sense danger.

“Check out essential flood safety tips to ensure you are prepared for any emergency situation,” KRC said.

According to the KRC, people should evacuate to elevated areas, avoid walking or driving through flood waters, driving over flooded bridges and avoid parking or activities along streams and rivers, during heavy downpours.

Residents in landslide and flood prone areas in the North Rift have also been put on high alert by the Directorate of Disaster and Risk Management (DRM) as heavy rains continue to pound the region.

Areas at risk

The department yesterday cautioned residents and institutions in risk areas to be careful and, if need be, move to higher grounds and safe areas to avoid loss of lives, livestock and properties.

The department cited areas at risk in Baringo South as Ng’ambo, Murda, Leswa, Salabani and Sintaan while at risk in Mogotio are Mugurin, Molosirwe, Kapcheluguny, Sirwa, Kisanana and Mogotio town.

Those living on the Tugen hills including Tenges, Tulwongoi, Kibonjos, Kabasis, Timboiywo, Kiptagich, Kituro,Tiloi, Kabartonjo, Tiriondonin, and Kaimugul Kuikui have also been advised to take early precautions against floods and landslides.

“Communities should observe any possible weak points and leakages of water pans or dams’ embankments and immediately report to relevant authorities,” the DRM statement read.

Communities living along rivers especially Perkerra, Molo, Endao, Yatya, Sibilo Kerio, Nginyang among other main rivers have also been advised to exercise caution while crossing flooded rivers to avert disasters.

Rift Valley geologists led by Senior Geologist Enock Kipseba who toured Baringo County urged residents in landslide and flood prone areas to move to safety whenever they notice landslide signs such as cracks or water springs near their homes to avert more disasters.

In Kitengela township, Kajiado County, several feeder roads were rendered impassable following the rains that pounded the area on Sunday night.

The downpour left traders counting losses after their business premises were flooded. Residents blamed the county government for failing to act on the drainage system in the populous town.

“Just a few hours of rain and the town is already chaotic. The feeder roads are flooded. We fear that if the rains continue, the situation will get worse. This has been happening every time it rains but no action is taken,” John Irima, a resident said.

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