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Heavy rains kill 194 as Met warns more to come

floods

Local divers at River Kawalase along Lodwar-Lokichoggio Road as they trace a vehicle that went missing after heavy rains. The Kenya Meteorological Department has warned that more is to come. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

194 lives have been lost so far across the country since the onset of heavy rains and flooding.

This is according to the government, with Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang'i saying those at risk in Garissa and Tana River counties may be forcibly moved to safer grounds.

The Kenya Meteorological Department has also warned that the situation is not likely to subside soon as more heavy rains are expected this coming weekend, especially in parts of central, Coast, Rift Valley and Western regions.

Floods are expected to accompany the rains.

Kenyans in flood-prone areas have been urged to move to safer grounds especially with worrying levels reached in Masinga and Turkwel dams which are now threatening to overflow.

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In Turkana County, a loaded G4S lorry transporting parcels and luggage was swept by a flooded river as County Commissioner Muthama Wambua issued a stern warning to drivers over attempts to cross rivers.

The vehicle transporting goods including electronics was en route to Kakuma from Lodwar town on Tuesday when it was swept by a flooded River Kawalase as the driver attempted to cross.

He was rescued by local divers while his co-driver swam himself to safety.

The co-driver, Abel Okari, said that though the water had subsided and other vehicles were crossing his colleague became more terrified midway.

"When our lorry began to veer off the flooded drift as the driver trembled while holding the steering, we were slowly swept though we didn't topple, making it easier for me to swim to safety," he said as he mobilised local divers to help him rescue the goods.

truck

A G4S vehicle that was swept away by River Kawalase on May 5, 2020 while attempting to cross. PHOTO | SAMMY LUTTA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

'ATTEMPTED SUICIDE'

County Commissioner Wambua is now warning drivers that they risk being charged with attempting suicide for attempting such crossings.

"We can't continue losing lives due to careless and impatient drivers. On Sunday a car was swept away and all two occupants killed. Any driver rescued after his vehicle will be charged for attempting suicide," he said.

He said a total of nine people have been killed by flash floods in the County, but noted that the deaths could have been prevented if those who perished were patient.

"Anyone in Turkana knows that these rivers are only flooded for a few hours and the water completely subsides. Let's have patience to save lives." The county commissioner said.