Grief has engulfed Kariua and Kiriko villages in Gatundu North Constituency after a 30-year-old man drowned in the heavily flooded Karimenu River on the evening of Tuesday, November 28, 2023.
Erick Njoroge is said to have been drawing water from the deep river when he, unfortunately, slipped before the mighty torrent swept him down a nearby waterfall.
According to residents, Njoroge was splitting logs into timber in the company of his uncle (Daniel Huthia) when he decided to draw some water from the river to quench his thirst.
According to Paul Gicharu, a local, Njoroge had ferried timber across the swollen river several times before the incident happened.
Gicharu told journalists that Njoroge may have been trapped in the river overwhelmed following a spill at the full Karimenu II dam.
“Njoroge slipped when he was drawing water from the river to drink. At the time, he was ferrying timber to a nearby road. The incident is disheartening,” Gicharu said.
Firefighters and divers from the Kiambu County government unsuccessfully battled for over three hours to rescue the man.
They called on the management of Karimenu II dam to divert the spill elsewhere to facilitate removal of Njoroge’s body as in the current state, it would be hard for emergency crews to retrieve the body following a speedy increase in water levels.
Locals decried that Njoroge’s case was not isolated as over five people drowned near the waterfall, some due to accidental drowning while others committed suicide by drowning.
Following the incident that has left villagers living near the river in anguish, Elizabeth Mugure, a local leader warned locals to fetch water from the flooded river and instead consider drawing water from other sources to avert further incidents.
“Residents should keep off the flooded river until the ongoing rains subside. We need not witness similar incidents, we can prevent them from happening. We also need the government to join hands and reinforce the team that is helping retrieve the body. If there is something that can be done, we need that urgent help,” Mugure pleaded.
As of this writing, Njoroge's body remains trapped at the deep waterfall.
Water levels at Karimenu River exponentially rose following the filling of Karimenu dam whose discharge is now on the verge of sweeping some crops planted near the river downstream.