Kenya: Floods causing death and destruction in Nairobi


Three people were confirmed dead and millions of shillings worth of property destroyed following Thursday night’s downpour in Nairobi. A car and its two passengers were blown off a bridge while crossing the Nairobi River in Katwekere, Kibra constituency.

Witnesses said the driver insisted on crossing the bridge despite warnings from locals. The bodies of the driver and one of his passengers, named David Otieno, were found yesterday a mile and a half from the bridge.

“You couldn’t see the road as the river was out of its banks. There was water everywhere,” said Otieno’s friend Eric Ojwang.

“It only rained for one day. Imagine what would happen if it rained continuously for two weeks.”

Hundreds of shacks near the Kibra South dispensary have been destroyed by the rains. Yesterday, families tried to salvage their possessions from what was left of their homes.

Mr. Pascal Odhiambo, who has lived in Katweker for seven years, said he had never witnessed such rain. His house was only two meters from the riverbank. He lost most of his possessions, including electronics and food.

“It has rained before, but not on this scale,” Mr. Odhiambo told the Saturday Nation newspaper.

A few meters away, 30-year-old Boniface Kiprono stood stunned. His house had been destroyed by the rain, which rained from 6 to 11 p.m.

“The National and County governments need to improve the drainage system in Katweker. People get scared when they hear the pounding of raindrops on their roofs,” Mr. Kiprono said.

Next door to his blighted home is Kibera Hope Evangelical Church, which was nearly flooded. Bishop James Isier, who has lived in the area for 15 years, like Mr. Odhiambo, he said he had never witnessed such destruction before.

“The designers of the neighborhood are to blame. They forgot to lay the sewer lines. Children died and adults were seriously injured because of poor drainage,” Bishop said.

His home, just 50 yards from the church, was destroyed.

In late 2018, Mr. Ojwang’s neighbor died trying to save his 3-year-old daughter from drowning. He and the girl were swept away by rainwater. His body was found three weeks later, but the child is still missing.

Next up in the Lindy area, 22-year-old Evelina Anyango used wet sand and earth while trying to repair the floor of her house yesterday.

“I can’t wait for someone to do it for me. I have to fix it quickly and hope it dries before the rains come,” she said.

About 100 meters from her house is Seokang Ltd, a company that builds roads in Kibra. The iron sheets surrounding the construction site had been washed away by rain the previous night. The company’s makeshift container office was not damaged. Unlike the surrounding homes affected by the flood, it had been trashed by young people.

A printer, solar panel, concrete mixer, computer, batteries, inverters, cables and welding machines were stolen.

“These items may have been stolen by one of our workers. We also lost three shovels, two hoes and 30 liters of diesel fuel,” said Seokang Ltd spokesman Barrack Amolo.

Sixty-eight-year-old George Ouma was on the verge of tears. In just three months, he lost 23 rented homes in Katweker.

His 14 homes were demolished by a road contractor in February. When the rains came Tuesday, nine more homes were destroyed.

Nearby, a wall collapsed on six cars in the Laikipia Gardens neighborhood of Kileleshwa. It happened at 9 p.m., according to one resident.