NAIROBI, Kenya, May 5 – At least 50 people have died as a result of heavy rains lashing the country since March, the Kenya Red Cross said on Saturday.
In the latest incident on Friday night, seven people drowned about 20 kilometres southwest of Nairobi as rains swept the capital and its surrounding region.
“Four people were swept away by flood waters near Rongai yesterday night. Their bodies were found on top of the Rimpa Bridge in Rongai on Saturday morning,” a statement from Kenya Red Cross said.
“The other three died near Ongata Rongai.”
Following the incident Kenya Red Cross said their Karen Branch Response team was conducting assessments in Kitengela, Rongai and Kiserian to assess the situation.
Two weeks earlier, another seven Kenyans from a church youth group were swept away by flash floods as they were trekking through the Hell’s Gate national park northwest of Nairobi.
At least eight people perished earlier last month in a Nairobi slum when their homes were destroyed by boulders after a night of heavy rainfall.
In the last three weeks heavy rains in Nairobi have resulted into flash floods, rendering several roads impassable with trees falling across some roads, vehicles breaking down and others being swept away in flood waters.
The rains have also caused extra ordinary traffic jams in Nairobi and its outskirts. Some of the hardest hit areas are parts of Langata, the Central Business District, Mombassa road, Uhuru highway, Waiyaki way and Thika road.
Nairobi Metropolitan Minister Jamleck Kamau said his office will next week roll a disaster management programme which will include improving the city’s drainage system to avoid floods.
”We are working on a programme, and I think in the next couple of days will be rolling out what my ministry is going to do in respect to the flooding you are seeing in the city. Also traffic jams, because decongestion of the city is in my ministry and things to do with disaster preparedness,” he said.
Kamau said the ministry had already received funding to deal with the matter of flooding.
Elsewhere, an alert has been issued in the Mount Kenya region, asking families living in the low lands along Tana River to move to higher grounds.
Despite the heavy down pour in most parts of the country, the meteorological department has predicted that the heavy rains will end of this month in most parts of the country but will continue in Western Kenya, parts of central Rift Valley and Coast Province.
The Head of the Meteorological department Dr Joseph Mukabana said rains in Nairobi are likely to continue for the next two weeks.
”Despite the floods in the last three weeks, we declared the March-May rainfall season as “generally poor”. This is mainly because of the delayed onset and very low and erratic rainfall in March 2012,” he said.
Kenya’s main rainy season between March and May often causes floods and massive displacement across the east African country.