Transport disrupted in Teso as floods wreak havoc

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Stranded commuters on one side of Machakus bridge
Stranded commuters on one side of Machakus bridge

Five hundred families in Teso North and South sub counties in Busia County need immediate aid after their homes and farms were flooded. This is after river Malakisi and river Ang’olol broke their banks and flooded the homesteads and farms sweeping away houses, livestock and plants after heavy rains.

Those who have been hard hit by flashfloods are residents of Akiriamasit, Amon, Onyunyur, Kamolo and Buria villages. “My house has been submerged, my two goats swept away by water and I don’t know where to go with my wife and five children,” stated Celestina Emodo.

Residents of Akiriamasit remove items from a submerged house
Residents of Akiriamasit remove items from a submerged house

The floods have forced teachers to close Akiriamasit primary school till next week fearing the safety of the over four hundred pupils.

According to the school head teacher Benard Oketch and his deputy John Mwambala, the number of pupils attending school has been deteriorating since last week and floods hindered them from accessing the school. “That is why we have seen it wise to close the school until Tueday next week as we wait to see if water will subside so that they come back for closing on Friday. There are even those who could not seat for the end year exams on time, we gave them the tests later because they were locked home by floods. We are also appealing to the government to put in place mechanisms to ensure our candidates seat for KCPE without hinges even if it means transferring them to the neighboring Amoni primary school if the floods will persist until the time of exams.”

Transport was also disrupted along the busy Busia-Malaba road the whole of Friday after river Malakisi overflew Machakus bridge.

Locals try to cross river Malakisi at Machakus bridge
Locals try to cross river Malakisi at Machakus bridge

Commuters going to Malaba from Busia and those from Malaba to Busia remained stranded at the bridge from 9am to 3pm when water subsided enabling them to pass. “I went to the market in Malaba in the morning to buy food for my children but coming back I have found the bridge submerged. So I have no otherwise but to wait until water levels go down before I cross,” said Evans Olung’oru who was among hundreds of people stranded at both sides of the bridge.

The locals have asked the contractor tarmacking Busia-Malaba road to increase his pace and build a modern bridge at the Machakus to avert such incidences in future. “e can see his plans are to retain the old bridge which you can see is too low and has been sub merged. Let him build a modern bridge which is raised so that even if the river overflow, it does not disrupt movement of people and goods on this very important road.