Residents put on high alert as downpour wreaks havoc

Monday, May 17th, 2021 00:00 | By
Houses submerged at Lindi Ward in Kibra, Nairobi, after a recent downpour that swept a way four people. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA

Alvin Mwangi and Wycliffe Kipsang

Residents in flood and landslide prone areas across the country, have been put on high alert as heavy rains continue to pound the country.

Rift Valley geologist Enock Kipseba who toured Baringo county; which is among regions in great danger, urged residents to be extra cautious and move to safer grounds.

According to the expert, population pressure is one of the factors which has forced residents to cultivate on steep areas which has contributed to the recent spate of landslides.

 “Our statistics have shown that about 80 per cent of the areas affected by landslides, were bare and lacked vegetation or no soil conservation measures put in place,” said Kipseba.

Rise tremendously

Kipseba said that apart from Baringo Central sub-county, other areas prone to the natural phenomenon include Kasisit village in Baringo Northsub-county  and Cheberen in Mogotio sub-county. Others : Kituro,Timboiywo,Kabasis and Tartar,Ngetmoi,Kabasis,Bosin and Kapkorombo villages.

Residents living in the landslide prone area told the People Daily yesterday they were uncertain of what would befall them.

“The landslides usually occur at night. It is so scary to live here because we do not know what will happen next,”said Mr Gilbert Kibarus, a resident.

This comes as water levels at Lake Baringo continue to rise tremendously following heavy rains pounding the area.

The areas risking submersion are Loropil, Sintaan, Ngambo and parts of Marigat.

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

“We call on our people to move to safer grounds as we put arrangements to relocate them,” said Kiptis, adding that his administration will set aside some emergency funds to mitigate against disasters.

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 Lake Baringo burst its banks following a downpour.

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

Meanwhile the downpour that has pounded Nairobi for the last one week has exposed the city that has a poor drainage system.

And with four people having lost their lives recently to the floods , city residents have continued to question why the menace has been perennial despite millions of shillings being spent by City Hall annually to address poor drainage in Nairobi.

 “ It is sad  that we live in a capital city which does not have a good drainage system. Every year, I lose my property as a result of these rains,” lamented Margaret Gathoni; a resident of Kibra.

Gathoni who has lived in Kibra for more than 23 years says she expected to see a change when the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) took over but to her surprise nothing has happened so far.

“ We have suffered for a long time and it’s high time, NMS Directopr General addressed the issue of floods with the same energy he uses to address other issues,’ she said.

But Muthoni is not the only one; in Mukuru kwa Njenga Moses Okinyi narrated his painful experiences with the ongoing floods. Okinyi said that in 2019, he lost three relatives as a result of floods.

“It was one of the most painful experiences. We thought after the tragedy something would be done, but nothing has taken place” he said.

Though the government is to blame, Deputy County Commissioner Jacob Ouma said the public should be blamed for throwing garbage into the sewer systems.

“ The government is partially to blame, but most Kenyans are very irresponsible. Instead of dumping garbage where it should be dumped, most of them just throw it into the sewer systems,” he said.

Ouma said Kibra is the worst affected as the available system is already blocked.

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