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Looming floods upset Giciiki residents

Over 500 residents of flood-prone Giciiki village that is adjacent to Athi River in Thika East Sub County are living in fear of displacement by floods during the coming rain season.

The residents are apprehensive about their safety after failed attempts to put in place contingency measures to contain the situation over the years.

They expressed fears that local developers have dug huge tunnels diverting water from the river, making it easy for it to break its banks and cause floods.

The topography of the area and its poor drainage system from the households has contributed to the frequent flooding during rainy seasons.

Led by their chairman Kahacho Mbugua, they said despite holding meetings with the various stakeholders and developers to have a proper drainage system in place over the years, nothing has been done to address the situation.

“We expect to face the same old story of displacements and destruction from floods during the coming rains as no measures have been put in place to avert this danger. We are disappointed that developers and stakeholders have been mute on our predicament,” said Kahucho.

While most Kenyans are hoping for abundant rains to drive away drought, the residents wish the rains never came so that they can live normally, with many staring at losing property and crops from floods.

“Whenever the rains approach, we pray that it doesn’t rain because our houses will be submerged in water as the ravaging floods bring about crocodiles, snakes, hippos and other marine inhabitants. Thereafter we suffer from unknown water borne illnesses, “said Joseph Njoroge, another resident who has been a victim over the years.

Njoroge added that during the rains seasons, their children stop going to schools for fear they may be swept away by the floods.

Thika East Sub County Deputy County Commissioner Hellen Chege said they had received the complaints of residents and will ensure that reports by a taskforce on areas of action to avert floods in future will be implemented.

She at the same time called on the residents to be cautious during the rainy season and when called upon to move to higher grounds to avert being swept by floods.

“This has been a risky occurrence that is yet to be addressed. For now we ask those residing by the river banks to move to other safer places if called upon to avert destruction. Good thing is we have started the messaging early enough before the rains to give the residents enough time to prepare in case floods hit,” the DCC said.

The area is among the most hit by floods during the rains seasons in Kiambu County as River Athi breaks banks forcing residents out of their homes.

At one time, a chopper was sent to rescue a man who had been trapped in a temporary ‘island’ in the area close to Fourteen Falls as the Athi River water kept rising after heavy rains hit the area.

By Muoki Charles

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