Long rains to continue in Kenya till June as floods leave trail

25Apr 2018
Correpondent
The Guardian
Long rains to continue in Kenya till June as floods leave trail

HEAVY rains are set to continue pounding large parts of Kenya until at least the month of June, the country’s metrological department has announced.

According to the department, water levels have risen above the initial average and a number of river banks were reported to have burst their banks

As per the Met’s analysis, several parts of the country are likely to experience enhanced rainfall that may be characterized by heavy storms.

“The winds have brought excess moisture from the ocean and the rains will continue to pound in most parts of the country,” said Ali Ramtu, county director of the met department.

“The rains are here when farmers in the grain regions are caught in between because their machines are not able plough in the wet season. We hope that they will make good use of the flowing water by storing them,” said Ramtu.

Floods have also left a trail of destruction and fear among locals who have been forced to shift to higher grounds as a safety measure.

In Turkana County, river Kawalase burst its banks making the roads impassable. In Elgeyo Marakwet County, already mudslides and rock falls have been reported in several parts of the county with authorities issuing alerts to locals to move to safer areas.

"The threshold of rainfall which can trigger landslides have been surpassed and little more can wreak havoc to thousands of residents living there," said County Director of Meteorological Services Simon Cheptot.

Already, the floods have destroyed water pipes that have been supplying water to at least two schools in the county.

"Residents have planted up to hilltops which are prohibited making the escarpment susceptible to landslides and a thorough conservation strategy should be put in place because,” he stated.

Reports from Nairobi said city residents woke up to traffic snarls and flooded roads as rains pounded the capital city on Tuesday morning.

The rains that pounded the city overnight left flood prone areas submerged, with emergency services concerned on the fate of people living near river banks and riparian areas.

Kenya’s Red Cross told the BBC that two dams were close to overflowing because of the rains, threatening the lives of thousands of people.

Abbas Gullet, head of the Kenya Red Cross, advised people in east and central regions to move to higher ground because of the flood risk.

He said that 200,000 had already been displaced because of flooding, many staying in schools or open areas.

Roads have been submerged under water and there have also been landslides.

The two dams - Masinga and Kamburu - are fed by water from Mount Kenya.

The rains have forced President Uhuru Kenyatta to cancel his travel plans to western Kenya, which is now littered with marooned houses.

Kenyatta was due to attend a high-profile conference there, and has now decided to read his speech via video link.