Heavy rains kill five more at the Coast, cause landslides in Nyeri

In Summary: Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya said the five died in various parts of the county. On Wednesday, experts linked the heavy rains on Monday to a storm in the South Coast. Apart from crops, livestock such as goats, sheep and chicken were also swept away.

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Five more people died in Kwale following heavy rains that have been pounding the Coast.

This brings the total number of lives lost to the downpour at the Coast to 14.

Nine people died in Mombasa on Monday and Tuesday. The rains, however, subsided in Mombasa on Wednesday.

In a statement, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya said the five died in various parts of the county.

He said at least 1,500 families have been displaced by the floods, and livestock lost.

HIGHWAYS IMPASSABLE

This comes as highways in Kwale were rendered impassable on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Marere bridge on the Mombasa-Lunga Lunga road was washed away on Tuesday, while Ramisi and Perani bridges were covered by floods.

“Kanana Culvert and the two bridges have been covered by floods following a heavy downpour in Shimba Hills. High tides from the Indian Ocean are also making it difficult for water to drain from Kwale and its environs,” said the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha).

Mr Mvurya said: “We have reviewed the situation and are working with disaster management teams to support the affected families.”

WATER TREATMENT SERVICES

He said they would provide water treatment services to reduce cases of diseases, and would supply shelter materials and essential goods to marooned or inaccessible areas.

Both the national and county governments would distribute food to affected households, he said. “We have 2,840 sacks of maize that will be supplied,” said Mr Mvurya.

On Wednesday, experts linked the heavy rains on Monday to a storm in the South Coast.

The Kenya Meteorological Department said the storm hit Tanga and Lunga Lunga areas and increased in intensity due to conducive sea surface temperature.

In an interview with the Nation, Mombasa County Director of Meteorological Service Lydia Kinoti said the storm moved close to the high seas, hence the heavy downpour.

MONDAY STORM

“We will experience this kind of weather until June. We have two types of weather at the South Coast that led to Monday’s storm,” said Ms Kinoti. She said the county received 235.5mm of rain.

On Monday, Mombasa county officials visited Changamwe and donated mattresses and blankets to over 350 people displaced by floods.

Mombasa gubernatorial Jubilee Party candidate Suleiman Shahbal visited Mishomoroni where more than 20 houses were submerged and families displaced.

Mr Shahbal, who was accompanied by his running mate, Ananiah Mwaboza, blamed the county government for not putting in place preventive measures.

In Taita-Taveta, residents were counting losses after flash floods washed away crops and livestock. Kimorigo, Kiwalwa and Kimundia were the most affected.

SPENT NIGHT IN THE COLD

Many people spent Tuesday night in the cold after their houses were submerged.

The residents accused the government of failing to offer humanitarian support. Kimorigo resident Ruth Jumapili said families had lost many acres of crops after their farms were submerged by water. The situation was worsened by raging water from Mount Kilimanjaro.

Mr Mwangi Kamau stands behind his house which was destroyed by heavy mud during a landslide in Konyu, Nyeri County on May 10,2017. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Mwangi Kamau stands behind his house which was destroyed by heavy mud during a landslide in Konyu, Nyeri County on May 10,2017. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“It started raining heavily on April 24. Soon after, we witnessed heavier flow from Mount Kilimanjaro. The whole location was submerged,” she said.

Apart from crops, livestock such as goats, sheep and chicken were also swept away.
She said water-borne diseases like cholera and typhoid could easily break out, adding that residents were drinking contaminated water from dams because there was no alternative.

RISK OF MALARIA

The risk of malaria is also high following an increase in mosquitoes due to stagnant water. Ms Jumapili said mosquitoes were making the county inhospitable.

The floods have affected learning at Abori Primary School in Kimorigo location.

Deputy headteacher Stella Maris said the school was marooned by floods on Monday.

The water has now subsidised, she said, but pupils cannot use the toilets as they could collapse because of the water.

“Learning has resumed but if it rains again, we might have to close the school,” said Ms Maris.

VILLAGES AFFECTED

Sources from the Red Cross said more than 5,000 residents of six villages in Taveta were affected by the floods.

But Taveta deputy county commissioner Henry Wafula disputed the figure, saying those affected had already returned to their homes.

“I don’t think all these people were affected by the floods. I am the chairperson of the sub county disaster management committee so I am aware of such situations,” he said.

Residents move to safer grounds in Mwandoni area, Kisauni after rain waters flooded the area on May 9, 2017. The Coastal region has been experiencing heavy rains in the last one week. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Residents move to safer grounds in Mwandoni area, Kisauni after rain waters flooded the area on May 9, 2017. The Coastal region has been experiencing heavy rains in the last one week. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Meanwhile, 29 homes in Konyu, Nyeri County, have been destroyed by landslides following heavy rains since last Thursday.

At least 35 others are at risk of destruction should the rains continue.

During the weekend, 14 houses were seriously damaged and 15 others were slightly damaged.

LOST LIVESTOCK

Residents also lost hundreds of livestock. At least 200 coffee bushes valued at over Sh120,000 were washed away.

A resident of Ihiga-ini, Mr Christopher Muthee, escaped death narrowly when a tree fell on power lines and then hit his house on Friday night.

A section of the house was covered by mud and debris.

At his father’s home, a few metres away, a 10-year-old boy was rescued from a collapsed house.

The boy was sleeping in a room that also served as the kitchen.

In Thunguma Primary School, Nyeri town, the toilets have collapsed following heavy rains.

The school with 260 pupils now uses only one pit latrine.

Reported by Fadhili Fredrick, Mohamed Ahmed, Lucy Mkanyika, Daniel Nyassy and Nicholas Komu