Brenda Wambui, a podcast host and TV panellist shared the horrific experience of being trapped inside a flooded car in the Nairobi West area.
The show host was among motorists, commuters and pedestrians who were stranded along the highway on Thursday evening, May 13. A recorded video of the incident went viral on social media, showing the cars submerged in water.
Wambui stated that she was caught up in the floods while rushing home at around 9:15 pm, 45 minutes to curfew time. The swaying waters knocked out her car and started carrying it away. She was further terrified when her engine switched off.
"I never really used to understand what flash flooding is, until yesterday. I engaged my handbrake and called my mother crying. She told me to leave the car immediately, so I did.
"By this time, my tires were halfway covered with water, and when I got out, the water was reaching my knees. I walked out to what I thought was a safe patch of grass," she recalled.
Other motorists rushed out of their cars which were swept away into a nearby ditch. Wambui and some of them sheltered under one umbrella as the rain kept on pounding. Some of them were freezing as they hadn't carried their jackets and sweaters. She added that they helplessly watched their cars and nearby stalls get submerged into water.
According to the TV panellist, their attempts to call for help were futile as the Kenya Red Cross and the police kept promising to send aid, but none arrived. Most of those stranded blamed the government for poor drainage systems and mechanisms to handle flash floods.
"The hours passed. We kept getting more and more covered in water. It was still raining heavily. We kept checking our clocks, 11.30 pm, 12.10 am, 1.10 am.
"We realised we were gonna drown if we stood where we were, so we climbed up on some jagged rocks, and each wondered aloud how this was possible in a country with a government. We smelled of the mixture of sewage and rainwater we'd been in," Wambui recalled, stating that they panicked after a nearby wall collapsed.
The situation got out of hand when they were almost attacked by a gang taking advantage of the rain to rob stranded motorists. The men reportedly posed as a rescue team sent to aid them to safety.
The suspected robbers, who were calm and composed, asked several questions ranging from the motorists' details to possession.
"One man realised they were messing with us, then one of the guys with a shop told us they must have been thieves. They were. They broke into a shop with glass windows to steal but did not attack us because we had a huge supply of rocks, and everyone was ready to use them.Brenda Wambui, a political analyst and podcast show host
"We felt sickness creeping in. I was afraid of death but used my crowd management and political skills to rally the group. The houses in the estate next to us, where we had been denied entry by the guard, were also submerged," Wambui remembered adding that they were also afraid of leaving their cars behind lest they be vandalised.
The motorists were stranded up to 3 am when the rain subsided. She added that she arrived home past 4 am and was grateful to have survived. On the same night, two people in Kibra constituency passed away after drowning in a river.
Kenya Meteorological Department announced that the heavy rainfall experienced in many parts of the country will reduce starting Friday, May 14. The areas that were most affected were Nairobi, West, East and Central Rift Valley, the Lake Victoria Basin, and parts of Ukambani such as Kitui.
In Nairobi, the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) burnt the midnight oil to open drainages at the Nairobi West energy station, thus aiding Kenya Power to restore power in a number of estates. The station was submerged with water after Nairobi broke its bank.NMS staff opening drainage systems at Kenya Power's Nairobi West station on Friday, May 14, 2021
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