Hundreds displaced as heavy rains pound Kenya's Coast region

Friday November 17 2023

Houses marooned by floods within Garsen area in Tana River County, Kenya on December 3, 2023. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG


One person has been confirmed dead in Kilifi County, as hundreds have been displaced and roads cut off in different parts of Kenya's coastal region due to ongoing rains.

In the Majajani area in Kilifi County, one person died after he was covered by debris from his house which collapsed while he was asleep on Thursday night.

A relative said the deceased had earlier been warned against sleeping in the house which had developed cracks as a result of ongoing rains.

In different parts of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Tana River counties, hundreds of people have been displaced by floods following heavy downpour in the last three days.

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In Pandanguo and Jima villages in Witu Division of Lamu West, at least 3,000 families are staring at imminent starvation after the main road in the area was cut off by floods following heavy rains.

Following heavy rains this week, the 21-kilometre road has been cut off and swept away at Ziwa La Kiboko section. Now residents of Pandanguo and Jima villages cannot cross over to Witu and vice versa.

In Mombasa, the Kenya Red Cross had to deploy boats to evacuate residents of Bombolulu and Kisauni whose houses were submerged by flood waters.

“Mtwapa area is flooded, and some roads are impassable. There is currently no emergency plan and yet the rains are continuing,” said a resident of Utange.

David Jomeli, a civil engineer, has blamed both national and county governments for not enforcing laws to prevent construction of structures along sewerage lines.

“In Kisauni, some houses are built on riparian land. It happens that now we have rain, and the sewage systems are not functional. It means the engineers from the county and national government failed to warn people not to build there,” said Eng Jomeli.

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“We do not have a sewer system in Mombasa. We use several manholes and septic tanks whenever a new building is erected. The national and county governments need to work together to ensure the sewage system is done afresh," he added.

In Kwale, tens of candidates sitting their ongoing national examinations at Ramisi Secondary School were on Thursday and Friday forced to use boats after River Ramisi broke its banks causing flooding in the area.

The candidates living in the Kanana area could not access the examination centre in the morning, forcing security agencies to use a boat to transport them in the flooded area.

Transporters and travellers were also stranded for hours after heavy rains resulted in most rivers breaking their banks. Motorists were advised to use alternative roads to ensure safety when a section of the Likoni Lungalunga highway flooded after the river broke its banks.

According to Lungalunga Assistant County Commissioner Robert Shunet, authorities swung into action to help the candidates from Kanana access Ramisi across the burst river.

Other than candidates, transport was paralysed along the major highway heading to the Lungalunga border after the roads became impassable due to the high-water levels. 

However, Shunet said there were no casualties reported.