, MACHAKOS, Kenya, Dec 15 – One person was rescued using a helicopter hired by the Machakos County Governor Alfred Mutua after he was marooned by flood waters in Mwala sub-county for nearly five hours when the Athi River burst its banks.
James Kyallo Musau was grazing his cattle along the river banks in Nduluku village, Yathui division, when the river began to swell at around 1pm on Monday forcing him to move to higher ground where he was trapped.
“The flood waters circled the small island I had sought refuge in. I was in a state of despair,” said Musau.
He added that he waited for two hours to allow the water to subside but the levels continued to swell forcing him to make distress calls by shouting out.
County officials were alerted of the incident prompting Dr Mutua to order that a helicopter be dispatched to rescue Musau.
“I thank the Governor and his government for the efforts to rescue me. May God bless him,” said Musau.
The helicopter rescued Musau at around 5pm to the joy of anxious villagers.
Machakos County has put in place measures to mitigate the effects of the El Nino rains which are pounding the region among other parts of the country.
Mutua has set aside Sh300 million to help mitigate the effects of the heavy rains and which may include flooding, destruction of roads, displacement of households, water borne diseases, food decay and aflatoxin among other calamities.
His government has constructed weirs (small river dams) to hold water in rivers and streams across all sub-locations in the county.
Mutua said there was need for urgent planning by his officers to ensure that Machakos citizens do not suffer due to the heavy rains.
He appealed to people living in disaster prone areas in the county like hills, mountains and river banks to relocate to safer areas.
He said the weirs will help retain water even after the rains are gone.
“We want to ensure that even when the rains end, we are left with enough water for our use. We cannot let all the water go to the Indian Ocean,” said Mutua.
He said the mitigation measures must be implemented by his officers with maximum efficiency and precision in line with the Machakos Maendeleo Chap Chap philosophy.