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Fears of Landslides due to Floods in West Pokot

There is a likelihood of occurrences of landslides and floods in West Pokot County following the ongoing heavy rains, Meteorological Department of West Pokot County has warned.

According to the weather department, highland areas of the region are expected to receive torrents of rain this week which will have both positive and negative impacts in the region urging people residing in dangerous zones to move to safer places.

Sondany, Tapach, Batei, Muino and Sekerr areas in the slopes of Pokot hills have been susceptible to mudslides where in the last year tens of people lost their lives, property destroyed and more than 1500 people displaced in the Chesegon area after flash floods and landslides occurred in the area.

In 2019, more than 20 people died amid massive destruction with thousands displaced in three villages of Muino, Nyarkulian and Parua because of landslides.

The County Director of Meteorological services Mr Wilson Lonyang’ole disclosed that areas like Lelan, Tapach, Sondany, Upper Chepareria, Kapenguria, Sekerr, Chepnyal, and upper parts of Sigor are expected to receive above normal rainfall of above 20 millimeters.

“There is a high probability of landslides and floods in major rivers. In low land areas like Kongelai, Sigor and along Muruny River, we shall have floods thus residents should be on alert,” said Lonyang’ole.

He added that there would be heavy rainfall in highland areas like Pokot South, upper parts of Pokot Central, Kapenguria and along the Kenya-Uganda border.

The Director pointed out that heavy storms, lightning, hailstones and floods are likely to be observed during the season urging parents to be cautious with school going children this time when schools are opening.

“People should be wary of cracks on hills and alert authorities on time. The season is going to be accompanied by enhanced gully erosion which may lead to destruction of infrastructure like roads and power lines,” noted the weatherman.

The weather expert further advised residents to take advantage of the season in production of short seasoned crops and establishment of pastures and fodder crops together with planting more trees.

“I call upon the locals to use the rains in harvesting water from their roofs, run-offs which they will use later when the rains disappear. The area may experience little rainfall during the third week from now,” he explained.

He has called on respective authorities to involve capacity building activities to farmers on issues of water harvesting, environmental conservation, crop and pasture husbandry among others.

According to the residents, the rains delayed causing panic among farmers but they have descended with a thud leading to another form of panic.

By Richard Muhambe

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