Rains visit misery on thousands as bridges collapse

Thursday, May 13th, 2021 00:00 | By
Residents of Kakola Ombaka in Nyando  use a boat to move to safer grounds after their homes were flooded. About 1,800 households in the area have been displaced. Photo/PD/Viola Kosome

The heavy rains pounding many parts of the country have washed away crops and destroyed houses, roads and bridges.

In Migori and Homa Bay counties, transport was paralysed after a bridge connecting the two counties collapsed.

Oria-Riat bridge, which links Kanyamkago and Kanyikela areas across River Kuja, collapsed on Wednesday morning while a truck ferrying sugarcane to Sukari Industries in Ndhiwa area was crossing.

Ndhiwa Sub-County Police Commander Robert Aboko said no casualties were reported in the incident.

Aboki said the truck driver escaped with minor injuries.

“We have sent our officers to the scene to investigate what transpired. The truck driver was alone when the bridge collapsed early in the morning,” Aboki said.

The bridge, which was built more than 40 years ago, links residents and traders between Migori and Homa Bay counties.

South Kanyikela location chief Moses Ongong’a said the metallic bridge was constructed in 1977 and has been used to transport sugarcane from farms to the factory in Riata trading centre for processing.

It serves among others students learning at Otange primary school, Otange Secondary School and Minyere Secondary School.

In Karachuonyo, at least 200 households have been displaced by floods. Families living in Kosano, Nyaola, Kamuga and Kolonde villages were rendered homeless after their houses were destroyed following heavy rains.

The are camping at Simbi Dispensary. 

Area chief Herman Onyango said 15 houses were destroyed.

He told People Daily that the flood victims were in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

“The affected families need assistance to rebuild their lives,” Onyango said.

On Monday, the Kenya Meteorological Department said the rains were expected to intensify in many parts of the country on Tuesday and yesterday.

Met official David Gikungu  said the rains were projected to reduce in intensity from today.

In Kakamega County, a downpour brought businesses to a standstill as many roads became impassable.

Hundreds of residents were stranded in their homes as they were cut off from places of work and trading centres. 

Many students were also unable to reach school on time while others could not make to school altogether.

Rising levels

Among the most affected were the Kakamega Aistrip-Shinyalu-Chepsonoi, Khayega-Shiseso-Shimanyiro, Ikonyero-Shimanyiro-Bukura, Museno-Sabane-Mululu and Shinyalu-Mukhuru-Ileho roads.

Yesterday, residents said the heavy rains were destroying their crops.

But some have taken advantage of the wet season to plant trees.

In Baringo County, disaster is looming as water levels in Lake Baringo continues rise following heavy rains pounding the region.

The areas that risk submersion include Loropil, Sintaan, Ngambo and parts of Marigat.

Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis yesterday appealed to residents in flood and landslide prone areas to move to safer grounds.

“We call on our people to move to safer grounds as we put arrangements in place to relocate them,” said the governor, adding that his administration would set aside emergency funds to mitigate disasters caused by heavy rains.

The situation has adversely affected re-opening of schools for the third term in eight schools including Longewan, Salabani, Ng’ambo, Sintaan and Loropil.

More than 5,000 people were displaced last year after water levels rose in Lake Baringo following heavy rains.

The affected families are still living in makeshift camps in deplorable conditions and have appealed for humanitarian assistance.

In West Pokot, residents have been warned by the meteorological department that floods and landslides were likely to result from torrential rains expected to pound the region in coming weeks.

Areas of Sondany, Tapach, Batei, Muino and Seker that are in the slopes of Pokot hills are the most prone to mudslides. The area has been experiencing heavy rainfall.

County Director of Meteorological services Wilson Lonyang’ole disclosed that areas like Lelan, Tapach, Sondany, Upper Chepareria, Kapenguria, Sekerr, Chepnyal and upper parts of Sigor are expected to receive above normal rainfall.

“There is a probability of landslides and floods in major rivers are so high in low land areas like  Kongelai, Sigor and along  Muruny river where we are foreseeing floods and residents should be extra cautious,” he said.

He asked parents to be cautious with school going children, particularly if they have to cross rivers on their way to and from school. — Reporting by Noven Owiti, Wycliff Kipsang, Dennis Lumiti and David Musundi

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