Kenya floods: Death toll almost doubles

World Wednesday 29/November/2023 06:19 AM
By: DW
Kenya floods: Death toll almost doubles

The death toll from weeks of persistent rain and resultant flooding in Kenya has risen to at least 120 people, Interior Minister Raymond Omollo said on Tuesday.

People from nearly 90,000 households have been displaced due to flood waters and are being accommodated in 120 makeshift camps, he said.

The floods — a result of persistent rain due to the El Nino weather phenomenon — come as eastern Africa battles to recover from its worst drought in four decades.

Officials have pledged to develop an early warning system to better deal with such situations.

Kenyan President William Ruto spoke of releasing millions of dollars in to the affected areas.

"The above-normal precipitation, resulting from El Nino, has led to widespread flooding that has regrettably led to loss of lives, displacement of families, disease outbreaks, destruction of infrastructure and property, as well as prolonged power outages across Kenya and many parts of the eastern Africa region," a statement from Ruto's office read after an emergency meeting on Monday.

Aid agencies on ground report that thousands of homes have been washed away or are marooned. Meanwhile, large areas of farmland have submerged in flood waters with tens of thousands of livestock drowned, aid agencies said.

Four counties in eastern Kenya, namely Tana River, Garissa, Wajir and Mandera, have been worst affected, Omollo said.

"All major dams are being monitored but Kiambere has a meter remaining to overflow," he said, referring to the Kiambere Hydroelectric Power Station in Tana River. Omollo called on "those downstream to move to higher ground even as government enhances power generation to mitigate the challenge."

Kenya's weather forecasting agency has predicted that heavy rain will continue until January 2024.

Extreme weather in the Horn of Africa

Apart from Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia are also battling flash floods caused by El Nino's torrential rains.

In Somalia, at least 96 people have died and 700,000 have been displaced, Kenya's government said on Tuesday.

Countries in the Horn of Africa region are some of the most vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather events caused by global warming.

While addressing the European Parliament ahead of UN's COP28 climate summit in Dubai, Ruto warned that Africa was "at the forefront of environmental vulnerability".

How one community in Kenya is adapting to climate change