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Kenya’s Masinga Dam Reaches Critical Overflow, Urgent Evacuation Advised

Kenya's Masinga Dam Reaches Critical Overflow, Urgent Evacuation Advised

The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) issued a dire warning on Thursday as Masinga Dam, located in the vicinity of Embu and Machakos counties, reached its highest recorded water levels, prompting concerns of imminent overflow. With the water level surging to 1,058.22 meters above sea level, against a full supply capacity of 1,056.50 meters, the situation has escalated to a critical point, necessitating immediate action.

In a press statement, Eng Peter Njenga, Managing Director of KenGen, underscored the urgency of the situation, emphasizing that proactive measures had been in place since November of the preceding year. “We had forewarned the communities living in the proximity of the dam and along the Tana River of the impending overflow,” Njenga affirmed, “and unfortunately, our projections have materialized.”

The affected communities, particularly those residing in Mbondoni, Kithecu, and Menguthe villages, are now facing heightened risk, compelling a swift response to safeguard lives and property. Njenga reiterated, “Given the current circumstances, we must prioritize the safety and well-being of our citizens.”

The ramifications of Masinga Dam’s overflow extend beyond immediate evacuation concerns. The resultant flooding, a perennial challenge exacerbated by heavy rains, has historically impacted lower Embu, Kitui, Garissa, Tana River, and Kilifi counties. Confirming the gravity of the situation, the Ministry of Interior disclosed that numerous villagers have already sought refuge in local schools, necessitating urgent provisions of essential supplies.

Moreover, the devastation caused by the flooding extends to public infrastructure across several regions, prompting calls for extensive post-flood recovery initiatives. Counties such as Taita Taveta, Kitui, and Tana River are particularly vulnerable, requiring concerted efforts in public works, reconstruction of schools, repairs to water treatment systems, and road infrastructure rehabilitation.

As the meteorological forecast predicts sustained rains, KenGen anticipates that Masinga Dam’s water levels will remain elevated for the foreseeable future. Njenga elucidated, “The Seven Forks Cascade, comprising Masinga, Kamburu, Gitaru, Kindaruma, and Kiambere dams, plays a pivotal role in managing water flow from the Tana River.” Despite the current challenges, Njenga assured the public of rigorous monitoring and disaster preparedness measures to mitigate risks associated with dam breaches.

Looking ahead, KenGen is contemplating measures such as raising the height of Masinga Dam by 1.5 meters to augment water retention capacity, thereby ameliorating the impact of future inundations. As Kenya grapples with the immediate fallout of Masinga Dam’s overflow, the nation’s resolve to enhance disaster resilience and infrastructure safeguards is being put to the test.



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