12 people killed, hundreds displaced as rains wreak havoc in Nairobi city

Kenya Red Cross team rescued 18 people who were stranded in Mradi and Mathare 4A

In Summary
  • In Nairobi City for example, the bustling streets have resembled the murky rivers as floodwaters submerge roads and sidewalks.
  • At least 23 counties have been affected with Nairobi leading with the number of fatalities and casualties as per the data from Red Cross.
Residents of Mradi, Mathare 4A in Nairobi stuck after heavy downpour on April 23, 2024.
Residents of Mradi, Mathare 4A in Nairobi stuck after heavy downpour on April 23, 2024.

Twelve bodies have been retrieved from Mathare River after they were swept away by floods following heavy rains in Nairobi on Tuesday.

Starehe subcounty police commander Fred Abuga said the Kenya Red Cross team rescued 18 people who were stranded in Mradi and Mathare 4A.

The 18 include 11 adults and seven children.

For the past two weeks, heavy rains have hit Nairobi and other regions leaving a trail of destruction and chaos.

The downpours have caused widespread flooding, displacing several residents in estates and bringing transportation networks to a halt.

Many homes and businesses have been flooded leaving a trail of losses.

Videos and photographs shared online showed key infrastructure damaged.

Some of the most affected areas include Mathare, Mukuru kwa Njenga, Fuata Nyayo, Land Mawe, Mukuru Kayaba, Mathare, Njiru, Ruai, Utawala and Mukuru Kwa Ruben.

Others are Magadi, Ngong, Kijabe, Ruiru, Limuru, Eastern bypass, Githurai, Choka, Kitengela, Athi River, Mwiki ward, Kware, Kibra, Kayole and Viwandani.

Major rivers have also broken banks.

A number of people have also been reported missing raising fears that the death toll could go up.

Kenya Red Cross says at least 23 counties have been affected and Nairobi is leading with the number of fatalities and casualties.

At least 24,741 households have been impacted and 11,206 families displaced.

More than 188 people have been rescued, more than 27,716 acres submerged and 4,824 livestock killed.

Transportation has also been severely impacted, with roads rendered impassable.

Traffic along Kitengela had to be diverted to Makadara Road after Athi River broke its banks, submerging a bridge.

The Kenya Railways company was forced to temporarily suspend its commuter train services over safety issues.

"We wish to notify members of the public that commuter train services have been temporarily suspended due to ongoing heavy rains that have affected rail lines," the company said in a notice.

"We are compelled to take this precautionary measure because the safety of our customers is always of paramount importance to us."

A seven-day weather forecast issued by the weatherman shows that the entire part of the country is set to experience heavy rains.

“Flooding is expected in low-lying areas, those in flood plains as well as in urban areas with poor drainage,” said director of Meteorological Services David Gikungu.

Gikungu said landslides may also occur on steep slopes where soils become saturated.

He urged road users to be extra cautious noting visibility is likely to reduce during heavy rainfall events. The alert extended to aviators and boat operators.

The expected heavy rainfall is likely to be accompanied by strong winds, thunder and lightning.

“The public is advised to avoid sheltering under trees and metallic structures to minimise exposure to lightning strikes. There is need to be cautious since the forecast strong winds may damage roofs, trees and towering objects such as billboards,” Gikungu said.

Kenya Urban Roads Authority also announced a partial closure of some major roads.

Among the roads closed were Aerodrome Road, Kapenguria Road, UN Avenue-Runda, Kasarani Mwiki Road at Mwiki Bridge.

“Motorists are also warned of flooding along Mombasa Road at Cabanas, Thika Road at Githurai/ Kahawa Bridge,” Kura said.

"The rainfall affected numerous areas throughout the city. Other life-saving interventions are ongoing in other parts of the country," KRC said.

KRC Head of Disaster Operations Venant Ndhigila termed the current situation as bad.

He said they are doing their best with the available resources.

“We are trying as much possible; we are conducting a risk map to identify areas that are risk and people without alternatives,” he said.

The scale of the disaster appears to have overwhelmed the Nairobi City disaster team highlighting the need for coordinated efforts as the rains persist.

Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna appealed to the national government to help mitigate the impact of floods.

"The situation in Nairobi has escalated to extreme levels. The county government for all its efforts is overwhelmed," he wrote on his X page.

"We need all national emergency services mobilized to save lives," he said.

KRC said a team from its Nairobi branch has been dispatched to conduct assessments in most of the affected areas.

Yesterday, Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja, in a joint press conference with KRC and elected leaders and other stakeholders, said the county will issue an evacuation notice for people to move to higher grounds.

He said the county is also pulling together the resources with food supplies, mattresses, blankets, dignity and sanitary kits for the women.

“We have also deployed more personnel from the green army to unclog drainages in all the 17 wards. We have also moved critical machinery to critical areas,” Sakaja said.

He said they have halted all pending building approvals across the city as this damages structural integrity of neighboring houses.

Sakaja urged other state agencies to take their responsibilities for their areas.

He asked Kura and the Kenha to speed up rehabilitation, maintenance and management of all roads in the city.

As part of its plans to manage the garbage and waste in the city, the governor ordered all private service providers of solid waste to ensure all that waste is taken to the Dandora dumpsite.

Those dumping it at illegal sites, he said, will have their PSV licences revoked and the trucks impounded.

Excavation on all sites including in riparian lands, he stated, has also been suspended noting this interferes with the structural integrity of neighboring buildings.

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