Counties located along the Tana River have been warned to brace for potential flooding caused by a dam outburst.
Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority (TARDA), on Tuesday, attributed the increase in water levels to the ongoing heavy storms and enhanced rains, attributed to El Niño conditions and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole.
The three counties, Garissa, Tana River, and Kitui Counties, were directed to vacate their residents to higher rounds.
“TARDA has been closely analyzing the dam levels along the Tana River. The data reveals a significant increase in water levels, posing a heightened risk of flooding to the surrounding areas,” read part of a statement by TARDA.
A photo of homes destroyed by floods in Joska, Machakos County in December 2019.
“In light of these developments, we urge residents to remain vigilant and prepared. It is crucial for communities in Garissa, Tana River, and Kitui Counties to heed the warnings issued by authorities to move to higher ground for safety.”
TARDA noted that as of November 14, readings at the Garissa bridge located along the Tana River stipulated that the water levels were at 5.10m, indicating the potential for further escalation of the crisis.
“Additionally, we advise individuals to take the necessary precautions to safeguard their families and property,” TARDA noted.
The agency added that it was closely working with stakeholders from various sectors to address the immediate and long-term needs arising from the flood crisis along the Tana Delta.
“We will continue assessing the flood situation and providing essential advice on relocating to safer areas in collaboration with the relevant agencies.”
The notice by TARDA comes against the backdrop of the recent clarification by Kenya Met on the current El Nino rains being experienced across the country.
On November 10, the Kenya Meteorological Department and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua confirmed the onset of the rains contrary to an announcement made by President William Ruto.
“The matter is settled. El Nino, it is!” Gachagua stated.
He also announced that the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) deployed airplanes that would be used to distribute KCSE exams in untraversable areas. Emergency response teams were also directed to be on standby for life-threatening incidents.
Kenya Meteorological Department Director David Gikungu speaking during the launch of rain mitigation measures in Nairobi on November 10, 2023.