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Deaths, deaths….More disaster looming



The death toll in West Pokot landslide disaster rose to 43 on Sunday even as the weatherman warned of heavy rains in the region.

West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo announced that six bodies were recovered on Sunday morning raising the death toll.

He said the Kitale-Lodwar highway that had been rendered impassible due to heavy rains that pounded the area on Saturday night had been cleared and that transport was back to normal.

A team of engineers from the Kenya National Highway Authority carried out repairs on the road.

Lonyangapuo said engineers from the army had been deployed and were erecting mobile bridges in affected areas.

“Kenya Army are now on the ground to open the roads and set up mobile bridges. We hope that the bridges will not be washed away again,” Lonyangapuo said.

Landslides hit West Pokot villages following heavy downpour on Saturday night.

Lonyangapuo said they were waiting for a military chopper to arrive so they can visit the affected villages and assess the magnitude of destruction.

“Choppers are unable to fly because of the bad weather and we are still waiting to see if they will manage to arrive,” he said.

He said that one military chopper carrying foodstuffs was able to land at Mwino.

“Another military chopper carrying foodstuffs was unable to land at Nyarkulian and was forced to land at the neighbouring village. Villagers are now transporting the food on foot to the affected people.” 

At least 10,000 people have been displaced by the landslides and were camping in various schools.

Lonyangapuo said the affected villages are very cold and asked well-wishers to supply blankets. “The affected areas are 12,000 to 13,000 ft above sea level, this means these areas are too cold and we need more blankets for the affected people,” he said.

In Nairobi, the meteorological department said the heavy rains will continue throughout the week in various parts of the country.

“The current heavy rains are expected to continue on Sunday and Monday. The rainfall intensities are expected to reduce from Wednesday,” the weatherman said in a statement.

It asked residents to be on the lookout for potential floods. “They are also advised to avoid driving through, or walking in moving water or open fields and not to shelter under trees and near grilled windows to minimise exposure to lightning strikes.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday directed authorities to relocate residents in floods and landslide-prone areas following the tragedy in West Pokot.


edited by peter obuya


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