Deadly floods kill 38 in Kenya; situation moving from emergency to disaster level

World Thursday 25/April/2024 07:16 AM
Deadly floods kill 38 in Kenya; situation moving from emergency to disaster level

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

The heavy rains in the African nation has also disrupted normal business.

More than 38 people died in heavy rains in Kenya and further causing destruction of property, reported Xinhua.

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

Following which, residents of this informal settlement, mostly low-income earners, found themselves stranded in their homes due to severe flooding, Xinhua reported.

Moreover, in other parts of the Nairobi, 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 neighborhood south of the capital, was flooded by the Athi River, leaving thousands of businessmen and office workers stranded.

"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, said.

Emily Kamau, a businesswoman, said that her day had been ruined because she was not able to buy 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," Kamau said.

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

Since the onset of the March-April-May rains, multiple counties have felt the effects, resulting 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 across the country and left more than 110,000 people homeless.

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

Venant Ndhigila, head of disaster operations with the KRCS, said, "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."

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

Following the rains, 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 at 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 region, to relocate.

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

Kithure further said that the government is on high alert, and the multi-agency team is working on mitigation efforts.

The Climate Prediction and Application Center (ICPAC) of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said in an update released that Kenya is among the countries in the Horn of Africa experiencing abnormally heavy rains this season.
"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.