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County issues flood alert to residents following warning from weatherman

Residents of Machakos living on flood- prone areas have been advised to move to safer grounds ahead of heavy rains expected to pound the country in the next four days.

The  County Director of Emergency and Rescue Services, Dr. David  Mwongela has also said the government has put in place all the necessary mechanisms to deal with any emergencies that may arise.

He has singled out Matungulu, Athi River and Mwala sub counties as some of the flood spots in the county where residents have been advised to vacate their homes especially for families living near river courses.

“We are advising those living near rivers and on grounds with loose soils to vacate their homes for the sake of their own safety. People must be aware of the risks of living in such places and therefore stay away from them even as the government does its part,” he told KNA  on Wednesday morning.

On  Monday  this week the Meteorological Department issued an advisory on the possibilities of heavy rains in several parts of the country with a moderate probability of occurrence of 33 to 66 per cent chance.

According  to the statement which was signed by Dr. David Gikungu, heavy rainfall of more than 20 mm in 24 hours was expected from November 19 to November 24 over the North Eastern, Central, Nairobi, South East and the Western Regions of Kenya.

A  total of 43 counties, including Nairobi, Nyeri, Kiambu, Nyandarua, Siaya, Turkana, Kirinyaga, Makueni and Machakos are among areas on the watch list.

The department has therefore advised those living in the said counties to take caution and avoid potential flood areas.

“Residents in all the mentioned areas are advised to be on the lookout for potential floods. They(residents)are advised to avoid driving through or walking in moving water or open fields and not to take shelter under trees and near grilled windows to minimise exposure to lightning strikes,’’ read part of the weather advisory.

Dr. Mwongela has assured the public of the county’s preparedness in dealing with any incident emanating from the rains including undertaking of emergency evacuation exercise for those marooned by flood waters.

The  official said the county government is currently partnering with the Kenya Red Cross, faith based organisations, NGOs and relevant government agencies in ensuring the safety of all residents is taken care of.

He has nevertheless urged the public to be extra vigilant by observing simple precautions such as avoiding using of umbrellas and sheltering under trees during the ongoing rains to avoid the risks of lightning.

“We advise residents to partake simple safety measures like not sheltering under trees or using umbrellas during the ongoing heavy rains due to the potential risk of lightning. Though the county has put in place a Disaster Recovery Mechanisms, we have a personal responsibility to take precaution to avoid losing lives due to these rains,” he added.

Last  week an environmental conservation lobby group called for Kenya to join the rest of the world in tackling the ravages of global warming.

The  Greenpeace Africa’s campaigner, Amos  Wemanya says effects of climate change are now a reality with rains becoming increasingly torrential in the past months, striking large parts of East Africa in unprecedented intensity never witnessed in past decades.

Wemanya  said widespread floods have already caused at least dozens of deaths and displacement of more than one million people.

The  environmentalist notes that providing aid to the affected families is not enough and that leaders should also take action to tackle the climate crisis.

“From floods to drought, extreme weather is a direct consequence of bad energy policies, the senseless burning of fossil fuels and reckless destruction of our forests. This continent must not wait for a miracle to avoid the next flood,” said  Wemanya through a press statement sent to media houses.

The official similarly emphasized that the organisation will continue to unite with activists across the globe who are calling for action against climate change.

He said Greenpeace will rally Youth Climate leaders across Kenya,Uganda andNigeria to push for individual governments to discard harmful practices such as use of fossil fuels that have been blamed for the deteriorating climatic conditions ahead of the November 29 School Friday for the Climate(Fridays for the Future) global rally.

“Without breaking away from coal, protecting our rainforests and oceans, transforming our farming and agriculture, and without bringing the US back to the Paris Agreement, we will all end up queuing for Noah’s Ark. With more extreme weather upon us, Greenpeace Africa will continue to stand with youth striking for the climate. Ahead of the 29th of November School Friday for the Climate (Fridays for Future), Youth climate leaders across Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and other affected countries will use Greenpeace Africa’s channels to continue to demand urgent action from their leaders,’’ he warned.