More than 1,500 residents of Buuri District in Meru County are counting loses after a one night storm flood swept across their planted farms leaving a trail of destruction.
When we visited Mailikumi village in Kiirua Location, several farmers complained of seeds being washed away from their farms and animals being carried away by the floods.
According to Kiirua Location chief Samuel Kimonye, it is estimated that close to 10,000 acres were destroyed during the rains and unknown number of animals including chicken, cows, goats and sheep died during the storm.
Several houses were also covered in mud after the flowing water deposited large amounts of soil in their houses and destroyed several household goods.
Several learning institutions and health facilities were affected by the storm water and had to relocate to other stations or close altogether.
In one case property worthy KSh. 10 million was destroyed when the flash flood swept through Kiirua St. Theresa’s Referral Mission Hospital.
The heavy storm is believed to have started at around midnight and lasted until the morning hours thus hampering efforts to evacuate the patients who were in the wards.
According to the hospital administrator Sister Jacinta Theresa the storm water entered various operation rooms and damaged several machines bringing all works at the health facility to a halt.
“We were informed of the storm water entering the hospital by the staff on duty and we tried our best to rescue the patients but we could not because there was a heavy downpour. Everyone was afraid of being carried away”, she said.
The hospital’s x-ray and ultrasound scan machines among others like fridges and computers were utterly destroyed and the hospital was referring patients who needed these services to other hospitals.
During the morning hours several patients had been turned away and those who were unwilling to go were served from the gate as the hospital staff endeavored to clean the hospital and normalize the operation.
The storm water also destroyed Patient files, medicine and transfusion blood in their blood bank. “Most of the things that were touching the floor and in the lowly laid lockers were destroyed”, said Sis Jacinta.
Other areas that were totally paralyzed were the outpatient department, mothers and children department, laboratory, kitchen and sewerage systems.
She adds that to avert such an occurrence they will talk to the ministry of agriculture officials in the region to establish gabions and build terraces in the farms adjacent to the hospital to reduce the strength of the storm water flowing from the hills.
“The Kiirua-Ruiri road is in a pathetic condition and we will seek remedy from the roads engineer to establish proper drainage systems to stop water from flowing towards the residential areas and peoples farms”, Sis Jacinta says.
She however alluded confidence that the hospital will resume its normal operations soon because the hospitals facilities are insured and once inspected they will be reinstalled.
On the other hand, the farmers were left calling for assistance from the Kenya government to help them replant their farms and restock their sheds with animals.
“I’m left wondering what move I will take next because I had exhausted all my seeds for planting this season. If this continues we might end up starving to death”, said Margaret Ntibuka a resident of Mailikumi Village.
Another resident of the village Veronica Kirai said more than 50 chicken were swept away and could not be traced after the storm. “I had to shift my goats and sheep to my bedroom to save them from being carried away by the floods”, she said
Chief Kimonye said immediate interventions are required to help prevent such a recurrence by sensitizing the residents to erect gabions and building terraces in their farms.
“Most of the farmers in the rural areas don’t insure their crops and animals and in such occurrences they are left distressed and they may end up starving if no one helps them to replant their farms”, he said.