The Meteorological Department of West Pokot County has warned residents on the outcomes of the heavy rains experienced in the region saying there is a possible occurrence of landslides and floods in the area.
According to the weather department, Highland areas of the county are expected to receive heavy rain this week which will bring both positive and negative impacts in the region.
The weatherman is now urging residents residing in dangerous zones to safer places so as to avoid being affected by landslides in the area.
Sondany, Tapach, Batei, Muino and Seker areas in the slopes of Pokot hills are vulnerable to mudslides following heavy rainfall experienced in the area.
Last year, more than 50 people lost their lives, property destroyed and more than 1500 people displaced in the Chesegon area after flash floods and landslides occurred in the area.
In 2019, more than 20 people died, massive destruction and thousands displaced in three villages of Muino, Nyarkulian and Parua in the landslides.
Speaking to press outside his office in Kapenguria yesterday, the County Director of Meteorological services Mr. Wilson Lonyang’ole disclosed that areas like Lelan, Tapach, Sondany, Upper Chepareria, Kapenguria, Sekerr, Chepnyal, and upper parts of Sigor are expected to receive above normal rainfall.
He pointed out that rainfall above 20 millimeters may be experienced.
“There is a high probability of landslides and floods in major rivers .In Low land areas like Kongelai,Sigor and along Muruny river we shall have floods and residents should be cautious .There will be heavy rainfall in Highland areas like Pokot South , Uplands areas of Central Pokot, Kapenguria and along the Kenya – Uganda border ,”he said.
He called on farmers to continue planting saying that the rainfall was delayed.
“Those weeding to plant more trees like Citrus, avocado ,Mangoes alongside exotic trees like Cypress and blue gums, Boma roads and Pokot rods,”he said.
He urged parents to be cautious with school going children this time when schools are opening schools while crossing rivers.
Mr. Lonyang’ole pointed out that heavy storms, lightning, hailstones and floods are likely to be observed during the season.
He noted that the area may experience little rainfall during the third week from now.
The weather expert further advised residents to take advantage of the season in production of short seasoned crops and establishment of pastures and fodder crops and plant trees.
“I advise the locals to use the rains in harvesting water from their roofs, run-offs which they will use later when the rains disappear. They may also use the collected water in domestic consumption, construction of structures among other needs,” he explained.
He said properties are expected to be destroyed at households due to effects of lightning and hailstones which will lead to rotting of maize in the fields. He added that soil fertility will be lost as a result of erosion.
The weather professional is calling on the value chain actors to report any disease outbreak or incidences both human and livestock immediately they suspect of its outbreaks to relevant authorities.
According to reports on the ground, there have been a few cases of the mudslides with the local administration urging the locals to heed the calls and vacate from the steep slopes.
West Pokot county Deputy Director for disaster management and Emergencies Mr. Raymond Sikamoi said that they have been planting trees in landslide prone areas urging residents to plant more trees to help in holding soil and rocks.
“We have planted more than ten million tree seedlings. The only solution left is afforestation so the we can escape these calamities,” she said
He said that the County Government has trained Disaster Risk Reduction [DRR] committees and has send them to 2401 villages and do sensitization through local radios stations and social media.
“We are also using Community Disease reporters to give them reports,”he said,
Sikamoi noted that they have mapped hotspot areas using contingents.
Kenya Red Cross Society Coordinator in the County Scollar Kapelo called upon the families to expeditiously move to safer ground to avert the impending disaster.
“With the area being in the landslide prone region there was a need to warn the locals in advance to avert any casualties,” he said.
He noted that they are partnering with Kenya Red Cross and Acted Organizations to respond to calamities.
She urged residents to move to safer grounds as the rains continue to pound their respective areas and cause havoc through floods and slides.
She asked the residents not to build their houses beneath or near hills.
Chapkatul said that with the area being characterized by hilly terrain, the landslides have been slowly taking place in the area.