One killed, several missing in Mathare floods

May 13, 2012 9:12 am


The area affected by the floods was hit by a landslide last month/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya May 13 – At least one person was killed and several others were missing following flash floods that swept away houses in Nairobi’s Mathare slum on Sunday morning.

The body of a middle-aged woman had been retrieved by 10 am at Mathare 4A and the search for others was underway, police said.

“We have managed to pull out the body of a woman who was swept away. We are still looking for others reported missing,” said Aphoid Nyagah, Police chief for Starehe division.

He described the disaster as “terrible and devastating because it struck when many people were asleep.”

He could not immediately give the number of those missing. “We can not really tell how many people are missing at this point because we are still talking to the residents to get the information. But it is true we have received reports of missing persons.”

A woman who managed to hang onto a small tree was also rescued on Sunday morning and taken to the Kiambu district hospital. Her baby was also rescued in her house, a few meters away.

Hundreds of people were displaced in this latest tragedy hitting the slum, barely a month after a landslide killed seven people in the same area.

Most of the people were able to run to safety when they heard sounds of gushing waters at about 5 am, but they could not rescue their households.

“It was not raining, we believe the water is overflowing from areas of Ruaka and Kiambu where it rained a lot last night,” Nyagah said.

He said the Disaster Management department under the Ministry of Special Programs will help settle the displaced persons.

By midmorning Sunday, the water levels in the swelling river had started to go down.

“We were getting problems searching for the bodies in the morning because the water levels were so high, at least they have reduced now,” Nyagah said.

Red Cross statistics indicate that up to 51 people have been killed across the country since the heavy rains started last month.


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