FURY OF NATURE

Floods leave trail of destruction in Narok town

Mud was strewn all over the town after the Wednesday afternoon downpour

In Summary

 

• Commuters and tourists visiting the world-famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve were stranded for hours as the town was rendered a no-go zone.

• Narok town sits at the intersection of rivers Enkare Narok, Ewaso Ng’iro and Siyapei – all originating from the Mau forest.

Vehicles wade through flood water in Narok town after heavy rains ponder the area on Wednesday.
FLOODS Vehicles wade through flood water in Narok town after heavy rains ponder the area on Wednesday.
Image: KIPLANG'AT KIRUI

Narok town streets were on Wednesday afternoon rendered impassable as rains pounded the region for more than three hours.

The Nairobi-Narok-Bomet highway was a mini lake. The floods swept away makeshift business stalls.

Tourists visiting world-famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve were stranded for hours. So were travellers on the Nairobi-Narok highway.

“We feared being swept away. We quickly moved to safer grounds until the waters subsided. Mud was all over the marketplace,” resident Peter Kamau said.

“These were the heaviest rains in recent days. The water swept my stall clean.  The government should come to our rescue and help us to start all over again,” vegetable dealer Gladys Kerubo pleaded.

Governor Samuel Tunai asked those living in areas prone to floods and mudslides to move to higher grounds to avoid loss of life.

Tunai said it was the responsibility of every individual to take precautions and ensure their safety.

 “As the weatherman has listed Narok as one of the areas likely to be affected by floods, we ask all the people to heed the advice of the authorities and set up safeguards to prevent loss of lives and property. Those asked to move to safer grounds should do so before the rains start,” Tunai said.

He said that his administration was controlling the floods by slowing the force of running water and clearing of water paths.

This is the first time the floods brought business in Narok town to a standstill since the onset of the rains last month. The town and its neighbourhood often suffer from flooding in heavy rain seasons.

There have been no fatalities this season as people relocated to the safe grounds when the rains started.

In April 2015, some 15 people were killed by floods and property worth millions of shillings lost.

Narok town sits at the intersection of three rivers – Enkare Narok which cuts through the town centre, Ewaso Ng’iro and the Siyapei – all originating from the Mau forest.

In 1993, a 45-minute flash flood killed over 50 people, swept away cars and ruined many livelihoods. In subsequent El Nino years – 1997/1998, 2002/2003, 2009/2010, 2011 and 2012 – many lives and properties were lost.

Flooding in the town is attributed to a 1975 plan which placed the rapidly growing town in a valley. Also to blame are human activities in the surrounding areas which have left the land bare.