• Nominated Senator Miraj Abdillahi said the weatherman has already issued a warning
• The long rains are expected to start in September and persist until January next year
The Mombasa government should be proactive and adequately prepared for the forecasted El Niño rains expected in October through to December, Mombasa political leaders have said.
Nominated Senator Miraj Abdillahi and former Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo on Monday said the weatherman has already issued a warning and Mombasa should not be caught off-guard like has previously been the case.
“A two-hour downpour in Mombasa results in flooding in our houses and roads,” Abdillahi said.
“How has the county prepared their stormwater drainage for a three-month downpour?”
She spoke at the St James Catholic Church in Mtopanga, where she helped distribute food to the needy.
More than 1,000 bags of food were donated to 2,000 Nyumba Kumi ambassadors, village elders and other needy community members from Kisauni and Nyali subcounties.
Kenya Meteorological Department director general David Gikungu on August 20 said the long rains are expected to start in September and shall continue until January next year.
The areas expected to receive heavy rains include Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Baringo, Uasin Gishu and West Pokot.
Others are Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi, Kericho, Bungoma, Kakamega, Busia, Trans Nzoia, Vihiga, Laikipia, Nakuru and Narok counties.
Turkana and Samburu counties are likely to receive occasional rainfall above the long-term average, with poor rainfall distribution in October.
An above-long-term average rainfall for the season is predicted in Kitui, Makueni, Machakos, Taita Taveta, Kajiado and Mombasa counties, while Northeastern counties including Wajir and Mandera are to receive the highest rainfall above average.
“By now, we should be able to harvest that water and use it to enhance our President’s campaign of planting 1.5 billion trees in the country,” Abdillahi said.
Mbogo said already, a warning has been issued and so no sane government should be caught off-guard.
“It is our duty to be ready by making necessary plans. Let us ensure the stormwater drainages are clear for the water to pass through,” the former MP said.
The Lapsset Corridor Development Authority chair said Kenyans, and especially Mombasa residents, have the habit of blocking the stormwater drainages through careless disposal of waste.
El Nino, he said, is not something to be joked with.
Kenya already has a bad experience with it, especially in 1997-98, which this year’s rains has been compared to, where more than 1,000 lives were lost and more than 250,000 people displaced.
“I remember in 1998, we had El Nino and I was working at the (Kenya Petroleum) refinery. The refinery was flooded and we had to shut it for one month,” Mbogo said.
The former legislator said El Nino can cause heavy losses in Mombasa, which he said is looking at a disaster ahead if nothing is done.
“If a two-hour downpour leads to impassable roads in Mombasa CBD, including Kilifi, Moi Avenue and Majengo, what of a 12-hour continuous downpour?” Mbogo asked.
Abdillahi and Mombasa county commissioner Abdirazak said those who have built on stormwater drainages systems also contribute to flooding in Mombasa.
“The county government should be strict with those constructing houses. Some just blatantly break the law by constructing houses where they should not,” the senator said.
Jaldesa asked those living on lower grounds to move to higher grounds, especially in slum areas like Burukenge, Moroto, Soweto and Kisumu Ndogo.
“There are those living in areas that are stormwater paths. These should be extra careful and, if possible, they should move to safer grounds,” Jaldesa said.
He said, however, the county is well prepared to deal with emergency cases through the county disaster committee.