Thursday, June 19, 2008


The road linking Mombasa and Garissa has been cut off after heavy rains in Coast Province destroyed some sections of the highway.

Thirty trucks and several buses have been stuck in the mud at Baomo, about 50km north of Garsen, for the last three days. The transport hitch has sparked fears of food shortage in Tana River District and some parts of North Eastern Province where the vehicles were to deliver supplies. Hundreds of passengers were inconvenienced and some had to travel to Garsen from where they boarded other vehicles to Malindi and Mombasa.

Mr Hussein Shariff, a fuel tanker driver, said his vehicle got stuck last Saturday. “We have to ward off wild animals such as buffaloes and lions which have been threatening us,” he said.

Another driver, Mr Ali Mohammed, said he was transporting food supplies from Mombasa to Moyale when his vehicle got stuck in the mud four days ago. “Life has become difficult because we have neither food nor accommodation and have been attacked by mosquitoes,” he said.

Ms Zahra Mohammed, who was a passenger in one of the buses, said many trucks heading from Garissa to Mombasa were parked at Hola Town as the drivers waited for the weather to improve and the road to dry up. Other sections of the road rendered impassable include Wenje and Hara.

The truck drivers urged the Government to urgently repair the road to end their misery as they could not deliver supplies to the Dadaab refugee camp and some of the food is beginning to rot.

The Kenya Red Cross Bura branch officer, Mr Lameck Kofa, said some of the organisation’s vehicle had been stuck since Sunday evening. The vehicles were heading to Tarasaa Division where thousands of families have been displaced by floods. The area in Tana River had been submerged with hundreds of acres of farmland under maize, cowpeas and bananas waterlogged.
“We are liaising with the provincial administration to find different options of supplying the victims with the relief food,” said Mr Kofa. About 970 people in Chara Location and 920 in Konemasa Location have been rendered homeless by the floods.

Ozi/Chara councillor Ali Omar Buya said floods had displaced 350 families in his ward. “We have urged villagers to move to higher grounds as a matter of urgency to avert a disaster,” said the councillor.