Risk of dams collapsing high, government warns

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020 00:00 | By
Homes in Kinoo, Kikuyu sub-county are marooned by flood water following the heavy rains. Photo/PD/CLEMENT KAMAU

The Ministry of Water has issued a warning that some dams may break their walls following heavy rains that have been pounding several parts of the country.

A statement from the ministry  said the flow into rivers was high and dams were already full.

“Dams were already full and spilling by the time of long rain onset,” the ministry said in a statement.

So far, floods have been reported on Sand River of Mara basin and Kipkoil River of Nyando basin. River Kipkoil was reported to have washed away a bridge. Rivers Gucha Migori, Nyando and Awach Tende have also been flooded.

Many families have been displaced after the Lower Sondu at Nyakwere burst its banks. 

The back flow of L. Victoria is also increasing in Bunyala and there is flooding at Khajula village where more than 1,000 people have been displaced.

In Sirikwa Ward, Kuresoi North, area MCA Alfred Mutai has warned residents to be extra vigilant to avoid flood-related disasters.

On Sunday night, hundreds of people in Siaya county were rendered homeless after their homes were submerged by River Nzoia flood waters. Those affected are those whose homes and farms border the river in Usonga and West Ugenya locations. 

According to government officials, the worst affected areas are in Nyadorera in Usonga, Sifuyo and Masat in West Ugenya location.

County director of meteorological services Dominic Arodi said the water levels rose to six metres by 7am yesterday, one of the highest in recent times. Siaya Deputy County Commissioner Joseph Sawe said no deaths had been reported.

Chesogon mudslide

Meanwhile, the government has started the process of evicting more than 10,000 families along the landslide prone Kerio escarpment to avert more disasters in the wake of heavy rains pounding the region.

The move was taken after the affected families defied government order to vacate the place which had been declared unsuitable for human settlement after 18 people, among them two police officers, were swept away by a mudslide at Chesogon on the border of Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot counties last week.

According the government, 17 people are still missing but residents say 23 are yet to be accounted for.

The floods also swept away Chesogon police post with its armory that had 18 guns and 1,2000 rounds of ammunition.

Elgeyo Marakwet County Commissioner Ahmed Omar warned that there was no going back in the government’s efforts to clear the families from the Kerio escarpment.

“The place is now out of bounds for settlers and anybody who will be found on land earmarked for reclamation will be evicted and prosecuted,” warned Omar.

In Murang’a, about ten families from Kagurumo in Kigumo have been rendered homeless as a landslide destroyed their houses.

Murigi Mwaura, one of the victims, said their houses are no longer habitable and they have been forced to seek accommodation in their neighbours’ homes.

“The landslide has destroyed our houses and crops and we have been left with nothing,” he said.

County meteorological officer Paul Murage said the soils were saturated and with the rains ongoing, more damage could occur.

In Kahuro, one family is counting losses after lightning struck their house killing 20 chicken and destroying a solar panel and other household items.

In Kisumu, governor Anyang’ Nyong’o has raised alarm over possible outbreak of communicable diseases owing to the floods.

The governor noted that the floods had submerged several sanitation facilities and shallow wells, resulting in a contamination of water sources.

Nyong’o asked residents exercise proper hygiene to avoid contracting water-borne diseases.

He said more 13,000 households had been displaced with 4,000 of them living in evacuation camps.—Reporting by Noven Owiti,  Rebecca Wangari, Winstone Chiseremi, Roy Lumbe and KNA

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