Kenya Red Cross has advised Kenyans on how to keep safe during heavy flooding, expected during the El-Nino rains.
The Kenya Meteorological Department projected that most parts of the country will receive above average rainfall for the rest of the year.
In anticipation of the floods, 400 households in low-lying areas in Isiolo County have been advised to move to higher ground to avoid losses caused by flooding.
Kenyans are thus on high alert due to the possible disastrous effects of flooding, as witnessed in the late 1990s El-Nino.
According to a report prepared for the United Nations, the 1997/1998 El-Nino rains caused devastating consequences due to unpreparedness.
2,000 people died and many more were displaced. Millions of livestock perished from disease, hunger, and drowning.
The rains also caused a massive landslide near Kibwezi market along the Nairobi-Mombasa highway. The landslide damaged about three kilometers of the highway separating Mombasa from the rest of the country.
At the Mombasa port, loaded containers were submerged in the floods.
Safety During Floods
Communication from the Kenya Red Cross outlines the following measures to help mitigate the effects of flooding:
- Evacuate immediately to elevated areas in case of flooding
- Avoid walking or driving through flood waters
- Do not underestimate the water level. Just six inches of moving water can knock you down. Just one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
- Do not drive over a bridge that is flooded
- Avoid parking or activities along streams and rivers during heavy rainfall
- Avoid areas with collapsed power lines and muddy waters where power lines may have fallen
- In a flooded area, use a stick to test the depth
- Follow information from designated media houses to stay updated on the rains and flooded areas
- Switch off electricity at the main switch if house is flooded. Disconnect gas supply.
- Do not go home or to disaster areas until it is declared safe
- Avoid drinking unsafe water
- In case of emergency, you can call 1199, the Redcross Emergency Hotline.