At least 14 people have died in flash floods since heavy rains occasioned by the El Nino phenomena wreaked havoc in parts of Northern Kenya.
Preliminary reports into the incident indicates that most of the victims drowned during heavy downpour that pounded the region over the past four days bringing the number of fatalities to 14 as the government warns residents and motorists against crossing flooded areas and roads.
Speaking when he toured the Garissa – Modogashe Road that has been cut off at four different sections, area Regional Commissioner John Otieno said that Mandera is the most affected with seven fatalities as a result of people drowning.
Otieno said that five people have died in Wajir and two in Garissa all due to drowning.
“All the victims met their death through drowning. I want to caution members of the public to avoid wading through flooded roads and flashfloods,” Otieno said.
He urged motorists plying Garissa – Modogashe, Garissa – Dadaab, Wajir – Elwak roads to be extra careful or avoid them altogether because there are sections that have been swept off.
The Regional Commissioner said that over 30,000 people in the region have been displaced from their homes so far but the figure could go up as torrential rains persisted.
He said the victims require urgent relief supplies that include food and non-food items but because most of their areas cannot be accessed by road, the government is working with other partners to airlift the same.
Otieno singled out Elwak in Mandera South and Buna in Wajir North as some of the towns that have been submerged.
“I am in touch with the national disaster committee to ensure we coordinate the airlifting of relief supplies to these towns and other areas that cannot be accessed,” he noted
“The government together with development partners are taking measures to ensure that we can save lives. We continue to appeal to all the partners to team up with the government to support the flood victims as the number continues to rise,” he said.
He disclosed that to Kenya Red Cross has started delivering non-food items to those who are in the internally displaced camps.
Otieno commended the county governments of Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa for supporting those displaced.
Meanwhile, buses plying the Nairobi – Mandera route have suspended their services whereas those operating the Garissa – Wajir route had their journey cut shot after floodwaters swept away Maalimin section on the Garissa – Modogashe road.
By Jacob Songok