Tag Archives: Flood

Bridge Destroyed in Flood is Reopen

In March 2010, devastating floods rocked the area. The great Ewaso Nyiro River burst its banks and destroyed the main bridge which connects Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves.  This was a huge problem for us.  Trips to the airstrip in Buffalo Springs would now take us 4 hours one way compared to the usual 1 hour as we’d have to drive all the way to Archers Post.  We also struggled to go into Buffalo Springs as often as we’d have liked to as it meant camping out in the field after tracking lions late in the evening.  The wear and tear on the vehicles and extra fuel and mileage incurred were unplanned and it really did take a toll on our field budget.

Finally, good news came our way in September.  Thanks to facilitation from Sasaab Lodge and the Samburu and Isiolo Councils,  the British Army agreed to fix the bridge.  They begun in September and completed it by mid November.  The official opening was on the 25th of November and it was a fantastic day.  Representatives from both Samburu and Isiolo councils were present, managers and guides from the lodges, British Army personnel and resident researchers.  Community members from neighbouring villages were also present – they had been stranded for months and struggled for access to food and supplies. They danced and sang across the bridge, excited with the opening of the bridge.

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The new bridge!

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Turkana dancers entertain the crowd

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Large crowd gathers at bridge opening

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British Army addresses the crowd

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Elders bless the opening of the bridge

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Wardens of Samburu and Buffalo Springs open the bridge!

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Walking across for the first time

We are thrilled to have the bridge open at last and relieved to know that we have easier access to Buffalo Springs again.  It was a great moment, walking across the bridge (it actually rained on us as we did that which the Samburu people believe is a blessing) and also driving across for the first time since March!

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Driving across for the first time since March

Ewaso Lions is sponsoring the repair of the wall near the entrance to Samburu thanks to your flood donations. We’ll keep you posted on this!

Thank You For Your Donations After the Flood

Thank you to everyone who responded to our appeal for assistance after the massive flood hit Samburu. We are so grateful to numerous individuals who dropped everything to come to our rescue and also made donations through this blog!

A huge thanks to Lee, Norma, Keri, Deborah, Tom, Junia, Tatjana, Lindsay, Paula, Paul, Isadora, Jan and Christina for their donations through this blog which amounted to $1,165 .  These funds will be used to help the people in Samburu who lost most of their belongings during the floods and also for the rebuilding effort.

We also thank Tropic Air, who was the first on the scene after the flood and provided many people with drinking water. Their chopper pilot Mario was fantastic and made numerous water drop offs during the first day of the floods. The Karuna Charitable Trust were fantastic and quick to respond to our appeal. They donated 1200 kg of maize meal. Pete Henderson, Save The Elephants (STE) trustee, and David Hewitt and Paul Muoria from the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) drove this flour to Samburu together with lots of drinking water. 13 bales were distributed amongst the Samburu National Reserve rangers and the remainder at Save the Elephants and Elephant Watch. We also managed to get 6 large bags of clothes donated thanks to Ashok Bhalla and his friends. The Red Cross of Kenya also arrived to give out blankets and mosquito nets.

We received many messages, emails and text messages from friends, supporters and individuals. Thank you all for your support and encouragement during this difficult period. Things are slowly getting back to normal. Samburu is so green and wildlife are coming back into the reserves. Only time will tell how the landscape and park will recover.

The 1,200 kg of maize meal donated by Karuna Charitable Trust went to feed people in Samburu.

Donated clothing was handed out to people who lost everything.

Trying to Recover After the Flood

We are slowly getting back on our feet here in Samburu and trying to recover from the devastating floods. I will write more soon about my personal experience of being caught in the floods, but for now I wanted to update you on where we are now.

The Save the Elephants research camp is slowly drying out and things are still being recovered from the bushes.  Some tents were pulled out from masses of mud and sand and a few belongings recovered.  The research centre is dry, power is on and the internet is also working.  A temporary camp has been set up with little pup tents on the hill near the camp.  The county council trucks also have arrived with water – finally there is clean water and the washing can begin.

I don’t think these computer disks are going to work so well.

Elephant Watch Camp staff are also working hard at removing all the remains of the camp and are also recovering things buried in mud more than 1 km away!  They have also set up a temporary camp thanks to tents dropped off by the British Army helicopter.

Oria Douglas-Hamilton, owner of Elephant Watch, at one of the destroyed rooms.

We received a generous donation of 1200 kg of maize meal, which arrived yesterday thanks to STE trustee Pete Henderson and the African Wildlife Foundation.  The Red Cross also responded to our appeal and arrived with enough blankets, mosquito nets and cooking utensils for the Samburu rangers and Save the Elephants.

Red Cross representatives (left) handed out supplies.

It is still raining in Samburu.  I did manage to drive to our camp in West Gate a few days ago through a temporary road.  The rain has made the luggas almost impassable but we just made it through.  I checked in with all the guys in camp who are doing well and keeping busy with trying to keep camp dry from the huge amounts of rain we keep getting.  We were fortunate – our camp is located about 1 km away from the river.  However, others were not so fortunate – and we are trying to assist as much as possible.

It is hard to think about next week or even tomorrow at this stage.  We are just thinking of now and planning for the hour.  Samburu Reserve will take many months to recover and I hope it wont be too long before tourists will resume coming here.  I will be doing my first game drive today to see how the reserve has been affected and to see if Pixie, Nabo, their cubs and the rest of the lions are ok.

I used to love to hear the sound of the Ewaso Nyiro River flow… however now when I hear it at night, I begin to panic and worry that it will come up again.

Thank you to Red Cross, AWF, Tropic Air (who were amazing and came to evacuate tourists and drop water just when we really needed it) and so many others who have assisted us.   Many donations are also coming in and we are so grateful for this.  This will go directly to getting Samburu back on its feet once again. Thank you and please share your comments.

The 1,200 kg of maize-meal donated to Ewaso Lions for Samburu flood victims.

Photos of the Flood Aftermath

More photos showing the wreckage caused by the massive flood in Samburu on March 4.

Samburu National Reserve after the Ewaso Nyiro River burst its banks.

This used to be the Uaso Bridge, a main bridge connecting Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves.

David Daballen of Save The Elephants stands where camp used to be.

The destroyed sign that welcomed visitors to Samburu National Reserve.

A vervet monkey killed in the flood.

The wreckage at Save The Elephants research camp.

Debris lying out to dry at Elephant Watch.

The kitchen of Elephant Watch.

Samburu County Councilors visit the destroyed camp.

A dik dik, like so many, killed in the flood.

One of the destroyed bedrooms at Elephant Watch.

The British Army provided this tent for Elephant Watch staff to have some shelter.

Ewaso Lions is helping provide food and supplies to those who lost their lodges, camps, homes, jobs, and personal possessions in the flood. Please donate to help, or email paul at ewasolions dot org

All donations will go directly to Samburu.

Thank you!

Photos of Samburu Flood

I’ve just received these photos from Shivani who is in the reserve dealing with the aftermath of yesterday’s massive floods in Samburu.

Photos above: Flooding at Save The Elephants camp.

A helicopter helps evacuate people.

Save The Elephants expects the damages to their camp to be in the hundreds of thousands of US dollars.

Shivani with a dying baby waterbuck.

Virtually no wildlife has been seen in the reserve since the floods. Many drowned dik dik have been found. Small and young animals were unable to escape the flash floods or have died of exposure, while many larger animals like elephants have disappeared; presumably they’ve gone up into the hills.

We are very concerned for the lions, several of whom had young cubs and were last seen close to the river. We will keep you updated.

Please help Samburu. We are collecting food and shelter items as well as donations for a relief effort. Many people are now homeless and without food and clean water. To help, please donate through this blog. If you are in Nairobi and want to donate food and other goods, call Paul at 0722454494 or paul@ewasolions.org  Thank you!

Massive Flood Devastates Samburu

Samburu has been hit by a massive flood which has destroyed six lodges and the Save The Elephants research camp. The wreckage is unbelievable. There have been no reports of casualties and the Ewaso Lions team is ok.

Around 5am this morning, a giant flashflood came down the Ewaso Nyiro river, washing away lodges and camps. Our friends at Elephant Watch and Save The Elephants managed to reach high ground, but the camps were wiped out.

Elsewhere, people were on treetops and roofs waiting for help. The British Army, Tropic Air, and others spent the day evacuating people out of the area.

Our camp is far enough from the river so that it survived. Several people from the reserve, who have nowhere else to go, have come to our camp for the night. I don’t know what will happen next.

What’s especially frightening is that a lot more rain is expected.

The drought was bad, but this is truly devastating. Samburu will need a lot of help. Please keep watching the blog; we’ll post more soon. For more updates, see our Twitter page: http://twitter.com/EwasoLions

One of the lodges in the flooded Ewaso Nyiro river. Photo by Heritage Hotels Kenya.