Two Members of Parliament and 16 others who went missing in the Tana River floods were Sunday morning found alive and rescued. Officials said.
Garsen Member of Parliament Ali Wario and his Galole counterpart Said Buya Hiribae were among the 18 people who had been missing for hours in the flooded water.
The two were among 16 others who went missing during a rescue mission in the Tana River on Saturday.
Tana River County Commissioner Mohammed Noor said the team was tracked down in the middle of the Tana Delta by skilled personnel.
“They were somewhere in Mlima Abo, the GPRS showed they were 22 kilometers from Garsen, but when we tracked them along the river, we could not see them.”
“Two boats had been sent earlier to search for the team, but without success. However, a third team managed to locate them manually,” he said.
He said they were found at about 4 am and by then they had left the main channel of the river for another route where they docked.
The Galole MP told journalists they didn’t know where we were.
“The river has burst its banks and all the villages are flooded, so any route looks like a shortcut and that’s where we went wrong,” he said.
The lawmaker said that they could not risk returning to the main route because they were running out of fuel and it would have been risky.
He thanked the combined efforts of the Ministry of Defence, the Navy, Kenya Coast Guard Services, and the Kenya Red Cross for ensuring they returned safely to the base.
Locals said the team left Idsowe village at 10 am Saturday on a motorboat for a humanitarian mission in Mlima Abo but their whereabouts now remain unknown.
The team has been running rescue missions on a private boat along the River Tana that has since broken its banks.
So far, 54 villages have reportedly been affected by the river’s spillage, with 1500 more households displaced.
The Kenya Coast Guard Service KCGS Saturday deployed personnel to mass evacuate residents marooned off Wema in Tana River due to extensive torrential flooding.
Major roads in the area have been declared impassable.
KCGS director general Bruno Shioso said they had rescued tens of people and the operation will continue.
“We are working with other agencies to ensure no more lives are lost,” he said.
The Kenya National Highways Authority said Garsen-Witu -Lamu Road is temporarily closed due to flooding.
This follows heavy rainfall which led River Tana to burst its banks and lead to flooding.
“The road is completely submerged in the section from Lango la Simba to Idsowe Bridge in Gamba.”
“The Authority appeals to road users in that route to halt their journeys until the water levels subside and an assessment is done to ascertain if the road is passable,” said the agency.
The rains have caused more than 150 deaths and displaced many.
Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo said Thursday the number of households displaced remains at 92,432 comprising 462,160 persons.
“The government has flown rescue boats from Mombasa to Garissa to assist in evacuation and relief efforts.”
“We continue to urge Wananchi to adhere to weather and flood alerts and take precaution so as not to risk injury or death through driving in flooded roads and crossing bulging rivers,” he said.
He said the National Disaster Operations Centre can be reached on 0202151053 or the Toll-free number 800721571 to report any emergency incidents.
He added they have intensified flood mitigation efforts despite an anticipated decrease in rainfall.