Heavy rains kill over 38 people in Kenya

Kenya floods2

An area submerged in flood in Kenya

Kenya is experiencing heavy rains that have disrupted normal business across the East African country, resulting in the loss of more than 38 lives and the destruction of property.

In the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, one person was killed and six people were missing in the Mathare slums on Wednesday following an overnight downpour.

Residents of this informal settlement, mostly low-income earners, found themselves stranded in their homes due to severe flooding.

In other parts of the capital, residents also woke up to flooded homes and businesses, impassable roads, and downed trees after a night of heavy rains.

Some areas were cut off from the city due to stormwater flooding the streets.

The main bridge in Kitengela, a neighbourhood south of the capital, was flooded by the Athi River, stranding thousands of businessmen and office workers.

“No vehicle is getting in or coming out of Kitengela.

“I have been waiting at this bus terminus for over three hours,” John Kimeu, an office worker, told Xinhua.

Emily Kamau, a businesswoman, said her day had been ruined because she could not get new purchases for her groceries. “My business premises were flooded two days ago, and I lost part of my stock,

“Today, the rains have cut me off, It is discouraging,” she said.

In Kirinyaga County in central Kenya, more than 60 families were rendered homeless on Tuesday after the Thiba River burst its banks and flooded their homes and businesses.

The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) said in a statement on Tuesday that at least 38 people have been killed by floods across Kenya, noting that the flood situation is moving from emergency to disaster level.

Since the onset of the March-April-May rains, multiple counties have felt the effects,

The onset of the rain resulted in affected households, displacements, the establishment of displacement camps, submerged arable land, impacted businesses, and livestock deaths, the humanitarian agency said.

According to the KRCS, the heavy rains have affected at least 23 counties nationwide and left more than 110,000 people homeless.

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The humanitarian agency added that crops on more than 27,716 acres (about 112 square kilometres) have been destroyed and about 5,000 livestock killed.

“The flooding situation is a disaster; the people most affected are those without alternatives,

“We are trying as much as possible with our teams to map the population at risk,” said Venant Ndhigila, head of disaster operations with the KRCS.

Kenya has experienced unprecedented heavy rainfall, with some areas receiving up to 200 mm in one day, according to the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD).

The institution warned that the rains would cause flooding across the country, with residents in low-lying and flood-prone areas advised to move to higher ground.

Kenyan authorities, both the county and national government levels have directed residents in flood-prone areas to move to higher ground.

Kindiki Kithure, cabinet secretary for interior and national administration, asked residents living near dams, including Masinga in the eastern region and Thiba in the central area, to relocate.

“Any further precipitation is likely to cause spillover, with greater flooding effects likely in settlements,” Kithure said in a recent statement,

He added that the government is on high alert, and the multi-agency team formed in 2023 during El Nino rains is working on mitigation efforts.

The Climate Prediction and Application Center (ICPAC) of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said in an update released Wednesday that,

“Kenya is among the countries in the Horn of Africa experiencing abnormally heavy rains this season.

The others are Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.

“Temperatures in the countries are also warmer than average, with episodes of elevated levels of heat stress in northern South Sudan and southern Somalia,” the ICPAC added.

(Xinhua/NAN)

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