A fault line has cut across roads in Nakuru West Sub-County following heavy rains that have pounded the region for the past three days sparking fears among residents of Koinange, Shabab and Kaptembwa Estates.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui said his administration had engaged services of geologists from Geothermal Development Company (GDC) and Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) to carry out studies in the areas affected by the fault across the devolved unit.
He asked residents occupying premises along the fault to move to safe grounds as geologists and experts investigated the cause of the huge fissure.
Kinyanjui said after engineers and experts from KenGen and GDC map out the extent of the fault line, the affected areas will be beaconed to ensure that authorities make informed decisions before approvals for property developments are made in certain areas.
Eng. Paul Njoroge, a Geologist at GDC said whereas the some parts of Rift Valley had remained tectonically inactive in the recent past, there could be movements deep within the Earth’s crust that have resulted in zones of weakness extending all the way to the surface.
The Geologist said a quick assessment by his team had established that the spot could be just one of the tens, perhaps hundreds, of other weak spots on the Great Rift Valley, which runs through the continent from the Horn of Africa to Mozambique.
He urged affected families to be cautious.
Governor Kinyanjui called on investors who had developed commercial and residential properties on the path of the fault line ‘to brace themselves’ for tougher measures as his administration moves to implement directives that will be rolled out to eliminate risks associated with structural weaknesses in their buildings.
“We will ensure that people move away from all structures that are on the path of the fault line after the study is carried out. This is a very serious matter that will impact negatively on structural strength of most buildings.
The risks continue rising as a lot of water has entered the fissures causing underground erosion even in places that have not caved in. The County administration will make appropriate decisions once a report by the experts is ready” said the County boss.
Last year, a similar occurrence in Naivasha Sub-County cut the busy Maai Mahiu-Narok road in area known to have inherent geological weaknesses.
Eng. Njoroge said that the Rift Valley region is still prone to volcanicity.
In February this year, fear struck residents of Solai as the newly constructed dam locally known as Nyaru Dam, in Solai Subukia Sub County developed a huge fault.
The fault lines were running below the Nyaru water pan, and some of the neighboring homesteads due to deep cracks and soil slides, resulting in the loss of all the water in the dam and cracks in some houses.
It is suspected the dam lies on the volcanic line flowing from the nearby Menengai crater.
Geologist hold the opinion that in the Eastern Africa region, Somalia and half of Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania will be cut off from the rest of Africa to create a new continent in about 50 million years- known as the Somali Plate
Forces of the Earth are the strongest at the base of the valley, yet it is also here that geological processes are most active.
“The valley has a history of tectonic and volcanic activities,” said Njoroge.Rains
By Anne Mwale