NAIROBI, Kenya, May 13 – Hundreds of Nairobi motorists spent Tuesday night on highways following a heavy downpour that caused massive flooding on most roads in the city.
Videos and photos of cars being swept away, others submerged in water and people venting their anger flooded the social media for the better part of the night.
Every motorist caught up in the floods had a story to tell.
“I got home at 3am. It has been like that for days. For the two days the situation has been the same, getting stuck at the same spot on my way home,” Suleiman Munyua a resident of Kileleshwa explained.
“I got home at 3am and there was no power too,” Munyua recounted.
Munyua’s tribulation was similar to Nyakio Karoki who lives in Langata and arrived home also at 3am.
“I left the office at 10pm hoping that I would find the roads clear. But I could not even access Kenyatta Avenue. I tried Mbagathi Way it was inaccessible, I tried going to Mombasa Road to use the Southern Bypass, the trucks were not moving, all that area, T Mall, Madaraka, they were full of floods,” she recalled.
The situation was the same for most of motorists caught up in the night of floods in the city.
Some said they got home as late as 5am while others opted to spend the night in hotels and bar joints nearest to them.
Apart from spending the rainy night on the road, residents of Nairobi West, Madaraka, South B, South C and among others Upper Hill had no power.
This was after the power supply plant located in Nairobi West was switched off after it got sub-merged in raging floods that even broke part of the perimeter wall.
When Capital FM News arrived at the plant, Kenya Power engineers and senior managers were on location trying to deal with the flooded plant and restoring power supply.
According to Nairobi West Plant, South C Chief Engineer Dan Ogada, they had to switch off two transmitters to avoid the disaster of mixing water with electricity.
“We have not been able to access our office and we had to switch off the substation totally. The switches submerged in water. It was safe to have everything off as we work out how to drain water from the yard,” he explained.
Later on Tuesday, a caterpillar dug a trench and broke down part of the perimeter wall surrounding the plant to drain the flood to a nearby stream.
“But we are making efforts to transfer the customers to alternative feeders. Once we drain the water, we will repair the equipment,” he said.
Daniel Kingori, a worker at the plant’s hotline session found his car parked at the depot covered with water.
“I got here at 6am I found the whole depot fully covered in water. I could not see my car at all. It was parked alongside three others and also others belonging to the company. All of them couldn’t be seen until later when the water level reduced,” he said.
Kenya Red Cross Society Secretary General Abbas Gullet told Capital FM News that the recent rains have been disastrous due to lack of a reliable drainage system.
“South C around the Mosque was completely flooded; vehicles were washed away by the water. Around the Nairobi West shopping centre, the water levels were extremely very high,” he said.
In the morning hours, the society volunteers rescued children trapped in a school bus in South C.
“There was this particular bus of Makini School, that kids were trapped inside, the level of the water had reached the inside the bus, the kids had to stand on the seats of the bus,” Gullet explained.
Some of the kids were later picked by their parents while others were checked in at the Boma Hotel in South C.
Some schools on Wednesday alerted parents that children would go home at 2pm instead of 5pm due to the frequent floods that have hit the city the last two days.
Gullet said so far 12 deaths had been confirmed in Nairobi following the heavy floods that caused walls to collapse including one in South B where ten people died.
He expressed concerns that the flooding will continue in view that the current rains are expected to go on to the end of May.
On Tuesday Nairobi County admitted that the city was depending on a drainage system constructed in the 1960s which does not have the capacity to handle heavy rains.