Heavy rains pound Kenya as people count property losses

Wednesday April 24 2024

Residents of Ruaka in Nairobi, Kenya salvage properties after heavy rains which occurred in various parts of the country evening left roads and a number of homesteads flooded on April 23, 2024. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG


Kenyan residents in various parts of the country are counting heavy losses as heavy floods continue to destroy their properties. 

On Wednesday last week, the Kenyan government sounded an alarm following the spilling of water from Masinga Dam. The dam, the largest water reservoir for power production in the country, has surpassed its capacity of 1056.5 cubic meters.

In North Rift region, more than 400 families have been displaced and several hectares of food crops damaged or submerged as floods wreak havoc following recent heavy rains.

The floods have also damaged roads and infrastructure. Transport services in several areas have been disrupted in the region.

Read: Igad warns of heavy rains in the region


In Turkana, West Pokot, and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties, properties have been destroyed by flash floods as dams and rivers burst their banks.

The Kenya Meteorological Department has warned Kenyans to brace for more heavy rain.

The Kenya Red Cross Society and county governments in the region are supplying families displaced by floods with medical equipment and drugs to curb an outbreak of waterborne disease.

There is also flooding in other parts of Turkana County after Lake Turkana burst its banks. 

The lake has swollen to unprecedented levels, putting the lives of scores of villagers who rely on it for fish at great risk.

“Flash floods have hit Lodwar town in the last 24 hours. Some dams and rivers in the region are likely to burst due to the heavy downpour,” North Rift Kenya Red Cross Manager Oscar Okumu said.

He added that 360 families have been displaced by floods in Lodwar, Turkana County, and are in need of food and non-food items.

People residing are near the shores of Lake Turkana are spending nights in the cold after the lake water rose and submerged villages and fishing gear.

Read: From killer droughts to devastating floods

“Most families affected by floods need psychological and social support, shelter, food and non-food items,” said Mr Okumu.

In Trans Nzoia County, flooding has not been reported, but the county government and the Kenya Red Cross have set up a contingency team for any eventuality.

In Nairobi County, the government has directed respective administrators in the sprawling Mukuru slums, where land grabbers have erected structures on riparian land along Ngong River, to remove them. 

Residents of the slums have their houses marooned by floods.

A National Environment Management Authority (Nema) official who requested not to be named said: “Structures have been mushrooming on the opposite riparian land, others stretch from Old Mukuru-Reuben slum. The is a danger of encroachment near the bridge in Embakasi.”

On Sunday, the weatherman predicted that the rains are not yet over and will continue pouring up to June.

Syokimau floods

An apartment block located in Syokimau along Mombasa Road in Nairobi, Kenya flooded after heavy rains on April 23, 2024. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG

At the same time, a vital road linking Nyandarua and Laikipia counties, from Gwa Kungu market through Pesi to Nanyuki, has been damaged by the heavy rains, forcing travellers to use the longer Kagondo-Muthiga road. This diversion is an additional 20 kilometres of the journey, traversing Muruku market.

A matatu driver Jacob Mwangi lamented about the neglect of road maintenance by authorities over the past two years. To compound residents’ woes, authorities have issued a warning to people living near Muthiga Dam of an imminent overflow.

Read: Heavier rains in East Africa due to human activity, study says

The dam is full to the brim and poses a significant threat. Residents have made an urgent call to local leaders for the replacement of the dam gates to avert a catastrophe.

In Kinangop Constituency, flood waters from Karoroha River killed six dairy cows. Vast swathes of farmland have been submerged, dealing a severe blow to residents who depend on farming for a livelihood.

In Samburu County, the Meteorological Department has put locals in lowland areas on high alert as a heavy downpour continues to wreak havoc.

"Flooding is expected in low-lying areas, plains, and urban areas with poor drainage," said the Met Department in a statement.

The water levels in Ewaso Nyiro River in Samburu East had sharply increased yesterday due to heavy rainfall that has been pouring nationwide.

With rainfall expected to continue in the country, swollen rivers are posing a huge threat to Kenyans living in lowlands and along rivers.

The rains have caused death and destruction in Ruaka, Kiambu County. One person has been reported dead.

On Tuesday, scenes of houses submerged in water were witnessed in Kiambu County, especially in Thindigua and Ruaka due to a heavy downpour witnessed on Monday night.

One person was declared dead on Monday and two others were injured after a perimeter wall collapsed. Many houses in the area have been submerged.

Kiambu Governor Kimani Wamatangi has already issued a warning to tenants of the affected residential buildings to vacate them until the county government ascertains their suitability and safety.

Wamatangi on Monday said the county government will continue with inspection to avert any scenario where buildings collapse or cave in due to poor workmanship. The inspection also targets buildings that were not approved.