Destruction and fears of humanitarian crisis as heavy rains pound the country

Transport remained paralysed in West Pokot for the third day as heavy rains swept away roads.

The most affected one is the Kapenguria-Kainuk road which connects Turkana County to the rest of Kenya.

The rains destroyed the road at Kambi Karai, a few kilometres from the Marich Trading Centre which left motorists who operate between West Pokot and Turkana counties stranded.

This has sparked off fears of a humanitarian crisis with a looming food shortage as the area does not have shops.

This came as the weather department warned Kenyans against ignoring its El Nino predictions.

A truck was swallowed by a deep ravine in the section of the washed off road.

TRAVELLERS STRANDED IN BANDITRY PRONE COUNTY

Close to 1,000 people on Wednesday spent the second night in the cold due to lack of transport.

Also, there are growing fears of insecurity as the area is prone to banditry.

Wild animals also pose a major threat to the stranded travellers.

On Tuesday, West Pokot County Commissioner Wilson Wanyanga said engineers from the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) and the National Youth Service (NYS) were on the ground tackling the grid lock.

“We are first trying to get a temporary solution to the problem,” Mr Wanyanga said.

But on Wednesday, when the Nation visited the scene, there was no presence of KeNHA, NYS or even county or national government officials.

The mostly sandy section of the road was washed away at 10pm on Monday.

LEGAL ACTION AGAINST KENHA

Furious West Pokot governor Simon Kachapin on Wednesday said he would consider legal action against KeNHA which he accused of ignoring the road he termed, critical.

Mr Kachapin accused KeNHA is sabotaging the economies of West Pokot, Turkana and Trans Nzoia by not fixing roads.

“I wrote to them regarding the poor state of the road but they have done nothing. Many people have lost their lives on this road,” Mr Kachapin told the Nation in his Kapenguria.

He said development of the oil industry in Turkana and cement factory in West Pokot heavily depended of the now dilapidated road.

One of the stranded travellers, Mr Thomas Caxton, yesterday said they are not sure when they will get out of the grid lock.

“We have no hope of getting out of this place. We have been out in the cold for the last three days,” he lamented.

SITUATION WORSENING

Mrs Lilian Maina, a Kapenguria resident heading to Lodwar and who is accompanied by her three children, urged the government to rescue them.

“My children have been affected by mosquitoes and I’m urging the government to come to our rescue,” she said.

Mr Fred Kimani, a businessman transporting relief food to the Kakuma Refugee Camp, is afraid the food would go bad.

“If this food goes bad, both the government and we transporters will suffer losses,” said Mr Kimani.

Perishable food destined for Lodwar, some 200 kilometres away, rough road, has already spoilt.

There are fears the situation could get worse as the rains washed off another section of the road.

Residents said their pleas on the government to repair the road have always fallen on deaf ears.

Many other stranded travellers pitched camp at the Lous Administration Police Camp fearing for their safety.

NAIROBI COUNTRY FLOODS

Meanwhile, Nairobi County government says it has put in place all the necessary measures to mitigate against the effects of the rains.

“The measures we have put in place to check floods are paying off,” said roads, transport and infrastructure executive Mohamed Abdullahi.

He also announced plans to develop a drainage master plan.

“The existing drainage lines were made for a smaller population and with the increased number of people in the city, we need a new master plan to guide the expansion and management of our drainage system,” said Mr Abdullahi.

He also advised Nairobi residents to move from flood prone areas to higher grounds.”

Elsewhere two Chuka University students escaped narrowly death after a private hostel collapsed on Tuesday night due to heavy rains.

“I heard the building tremble and when I woke up, one side of the room was going down,” said a student only identified as Margaret.

The Chuka Igamba-Ng’ombe deputy OCPD James Kilonzo who visited the scene said the hostel is built on a swamp and is not fit for occupation.

“We are following up the matter to find out how the building was constructed as we evacuate the 62 students,” said Mr Kilonzo.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION