CAUTION

How to survive floods, landslides this holiday - Met

Heavy rains will continue until Christmas - Met

In Summary

• The most common cause of flooding, is water due to rain that accumulates faster than soils can absorb it or rivers can carry it away.

• Flooding can occur because of prolonged rain falls over several days, when intense rain falls over a short period of time, or when debris or ice jam causes a river or stream to overflow onto the surrounding area.

Floods hit Watamu area in Kilifi County after the main road for accessing the resort town was blocked following the ongoing heavy rains being experienced at the Coast region.
Floods hit Watamu after heavy downpour Floods hit Watamu area in Kilifi County after the main road for accessing the resort town was blocked following the ongoing heavy rains being experienced at the Coast region.
Image: Alphonce Gari

Since the onset of short rains in October, more than 160,000 people have been affected by floods or landslides, the Kenya red cross society has said.

The National disaster operation has confirmed that of these, at least 130 have been killed in flood-related accidents including landslides.

Around 17,000 were displaced and 11,000 livestock swept away by strong waters, government’s spokesman Cyrus Oguna said.

 

"More than half of the country has been affected. The government will spend Sh1 billion to respond to the impact of floods countrywide," Oguna said.

Children walking in water, vehicles being driven into hazardous flood water have become a common sight in flooded areas.

Why are you driving in a flooded road? The Star asked.

Vehicles passing in flooded roads at Ngara,Nairobi
Vehicles passing in flooded roads at Ngara,Nairobi
Image: COURTESY

"Sasa tutapita wapi? Lazima kazi ifanywe(Where do you expect me to pass? Business must go on as usual," a Thika road matatu driver responded.

The most common cause of flooding is rain that accumulates faster than soils can absorb it or rivers can carry it away.

Flooding can occur because of prolonged rain falls over several days, when intense rain falls over a short period of time, or when debris or ice jam causes a river or stream to overflow onto the surrounding area.

Flooding can also result from the failure of a water control structure, such as a levee or dam.

 

Deputy director of the Meteorological department, Sam Mwangi, has said heavy rains will continue until Christmas, extending the current flooding misery for three more weeks.

The flooding might trigger more landslides and displace more people.

Met said the rain this month will definitely exceed the highest amounts experienced in December in recent years.

"This coupled with the already saturated grounds is likely to continue causing floods and landslides especially in lowlands and poorly drained areas," he said.

How do we survive these floods?

Surviving a flood is a combination of preparation and appropriate action as soon as the disaster begins.

Here's is what you need to do.

EVACUATE 

Mwangi said when a flood warning is issued for your area, evacuate.

He said people in flood-prone areas should head for higher ground and stay there until you are told that the area is safe.

"An analysis of the rains last month shows most regions received more than 200 per cent the average rains for November," Mwangi said.

Mombasa meteorological station recorded 289 per cent of its monthly mean for November.

Other stations that recorded more than 200 per cent include Lamu, Msabaha, Malindi, Mtwapa, Wajir, Narok and Mandera.

Up to November 27, Karurumo rainfall station in Embu recorded the highest total rainfall amount of 655.1mm followed by Meru.

DON'T DRIVE 

Mwangi cautioned motorists to avoid driving on flooded roads, they should instead use another way.

"If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way," he said.

Mwangi said if flood waters rise around your vehicle, abandon the car and move to higher ground for you and the vehicle can be swept by the waters.

Seven inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling.

Twelve inches of water will float many vehicles, 24 inches(two ft) of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including trucks.

DON'T WALK

Mwangi says people should not walk through moving waters for six inches of moving water can sweep you off your feet.

"Walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you," Mwangi said.

In case you come upon flowing waters where the water is above your ankles do not panic, turn around and go another way.

He added that people should never underestimate the force and power of water.

HOME APPLIANCES 

Drainages, ditches around homes should be unclogged to avoid flooding and property damage.

Essential items should be transferred to the highest part of the upper floor of the home in case water finds way to your home.

Move your family upstairs or to a high place with a means of escape

All appliances at the main switches should be turned off in case water paves way to your house.

Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

AFTER A FLOOD

Avoid flood waters. Water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.

Avoid moving water.

Be aware of areas where flood waters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.

Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.

Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from flood water can contain sewage and chemicals.