- On Saturday, Mission Relief Africa helped Kazungu’s and Lugogo’s families with donations of food and non-food items.
- In Chaani, Rauf said, some houses were nearly submerged because of the heavy rains, with the water levels going as high as the roof.
Kitsau Kahindi had retired to bed after a long, rainy Friday, which bore no fruits for him and his family.
The rain had refused to relent that day, slightly more than a week ago.
The sole breadwinner of the family of six lives from hand to mouth, surviving on glasses of salty water for supper.
At around 10pm, the rains had slightly relented and Kahindi’s heavy eyes were beginning to shut when there was a loud thud followed by a muffled cry.
A wall of the house he was in had caved in on him. He was unable to breathe.
Bahati Kitsau, Kahindi’s younger sister, said she heard muffled screams from the house calling on their mother for help.
“My mother, who was in her separate house, rushed to the scene and upon seeing the rubble, shouted for help,” Bahati said.
Neighbours braved the chilly weather and slight showers that were still coming down to help Kahindi when the rest of the house caved in.
Days earlier, Mkubwa Lugogo also almost lost his six-year-old daughter in the same manner.
Lugogo and Kahindi are neighbours.
“I was from the day’s hustle and was resting outside the house when I heard my wife shout ‘My child has left me! My child has left me!’ from inside the house,” Lugogo said.
A wall had also caved in on the daughter as she was sleeping.
Some neighbours who were chewing muguka nearby heard the commotion and rushed to the scene.
“I was hurting because I knew I could not afford to take her to hospital because I did not have even Sh10 on me. But I still carried her on my back and took her to a nearby health facility for first aid,” he said.
Being the area’s security chairperson, Lugogo made frantic calls for help and was connected with Mission Relief Africa, an organisation that, among other things, responds to natural calamities like floods and droughts.
Mission Relief Africa founder and chairperson Rafik Rauf said the two distress calls in a span of a few days jolted him to the realities that slum dwellers face.
“Two different walls had fallen on a man and a child as they tried to get some sleep,” Rauf said, adding the quick action by his organisation had probably saved the two lives.
Kahindi had internal damages and was in the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital’s ICU for two days.
On Saturday, the organisation helped Kazungu’s and Lugogo’s families with donations of food and non-food items, including blankets, flour, bread, milk, cooking oil, stoves and sufurias, among other things.
“These are items we receive from well-wishers and some donors who want to help humanity,” Rauf said, adding that they usually donate items according to the level of damage that victims suffer, including minimum, moderate and complete damage.
“Kazungu’s case is a complete damage because there is no house anymore. It was completely destroyed.”
Rauf’s organisation has mapped about 1,200 households that need help in Mombasa as the rains continue, especially in Mvita constituency’s Moroto and Burukenge slums and Chaani in Changamwe constituency.
“Out of these, around 200 houses are damaged, with 50 of them being completely damaged.”
In Chaani, Rauf said, some houses were nearly submerged because of the heavy rains, with the water levels going as high as the roof.
“This was shocking to us because this is the first time ever that I have seen a house almost submerged by flood water,” he said.
Sadly, the flood situation is an almost annual occurrence but the victims are almost always in the same areas.
“If you look at the structures in the prone areas, 100 per cent they will be washed away when the heavy rains come. But the dwellers do not move to higher grounds even when warned,” Rauf said.
In most cases, those who live in such flood-prone areas pay as little as Sh500 a month in rent.
However, Rauf said in as much as he understands the dilemma of the potential victims, hard decisions have to be made when it comes to matters of life and death.
Tudor chief Tsuma Mwangale said cases like that of Kahindi and Katana are common in Moroto slums, which has approximately 15,000 houses, with around 60,000 people in population.
“Moroto has unplanned houses and this makes them vulnerable to harsh weather conditions like heavy rains,” Mwangale said, adding that although almost all of the residents know the risks they expose themselves to, there is little they can do.
“In many forums I preach the same thing. Go to higher grounds. But they tell you they have nowhere else to go and that the only place they can afford to live is here.”
He said the drainage system in Tudor is old and poor and this makes the residents susceptible when heavy rains come.
In Kahindi’s case, he said: “Were it not for Rauf and his organisation, who at a call was able to organise for his transportation to the hospital and pay the down payment for treatment, he might not have been alive today.”
Kahindi is still in hospital while Lugogo’s daughter was treated and discharged.
Lugogo said the situation has forced them to live in Moroto although they know the risks they expose themselves to.
“If I get an opportunity to leave this place and live somewhere else, I would,” he said.