At least 150 people have been displaced by floods in Kwale’s resort town of Ukunda, following heavy rains that have been pounding the area for the last one week.
The rains have left most of the town’s residential and commercial areas under water with fears of an outbreak of waterborne diseases like cholera gripping residents.
The residents accused the county government of neglecting the town despite being the county’s commercial and tourist hub.
The flood victims mainly from Lemba village were left in the cold after their houses were submerged by the deluge.
Also affected by the floods are some families in Mwaroni village in the same town.
Scores of traders are also counting losses after their business structures were swamped by flood water.
Some locals have been wading through waist-deep water to access their homes or businesses.
They took issue with the county administration accusing it of doing nothing to help drain the water from homes and businesses.
“The town is in a total mess with numerous pools of stagnant, muddy water everywhere. They are an eyesore and a blot to the town’s reputation as a haven of tourists,” said Ms. Caro Simanyire.
Locals blamed poor storm water drainage system for the flooding, saying urgent remedial measures needs to be taken to end the perennial menace.
“This is the fourth day since they were forced to seek shelter from nearby friends after their houses were submerged,” Abdallah Mwachikaya, a flood victim, said.
“We were almost swept away by the floods which struck while we were asleep during the night. It is a miracle we are alive,” he said.
A barber, Robert Kitunguu said his business is completely paralyzed as his shop has been submerged by floods.
“I have been forced to stay without work until the situation improves,” he said.
A week ago, 200 people in Vumbu village were also affected by floods which also damaged a bridge.
The County Commissioner (CC), Karuku Ngumo advised locals in flood prone areas to take precautions to avert calamities.
Meanwhile, a senior county government official, Chimvua Kombo said several farms and villages have been flooded in Vanga and Mwangwei.
He said a team was already on the ground to assess the situation to facilitate intervention by the disaster management committee.
“We expect concrete feedback from the team on the situation on the ground and then see how we can help those affected. We will then sit as a committee and come up with suitable mitigation measures,” said Kombo on Sunday at the county headquarters.
But the rains have come as a great relief to locals who have suffered a lot from the devastating effects of prolonged drought.
However, the County Director of Meteorological Services, Dominic Mbindyo said the rains are expected to subside in the coming days. “The rains will continue but at decreased intensity,” he said, adding that flooding had been reported in various parts of the county.
By Shaban Omar/James Muchai