10 Dead as Storms, Flash Floods Wreak Havoc in Kenyan Capital

Wed Apr 24 2024
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NAIROBI: At least 10 people were killed, and several others missing as torrential storms and flash floods wreaked havoc in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Wednesday. The relentless downpours turned roads into rushing rivers and inundated homes with waist-high muddy water.

The East Africa region has been battered by persistent rainfall in recent weeks, aggravated by the El Nino weather pattern, leading to widespread flooding across Nairobi. Vehicles were stranded in the deluge, and residents in slum areas were forced to wade through floodwaters to seek safety.

Fred Abuga, a local police commander, confirmed the tragic toll, stating, “The number of bodies recovered so far are 10, and we have other people who are missing.” The Nairobi county governor’s office estimated that around 60,000 people, mostly women and children, have been severely affected by the floods.

The Kenya Meteorological Department issued warnings of continued “heavy to very heavy” rainfall in various parts of the country until May, further exacerbating the flood situation.

In response to the crisis, Kenya Railways announced the temporary suspension of commuter train services, while the roads authority reported partial closures of four roads in the capital. The inundation brought the city to a standstill, with major thoroughfares impassable.

Homes in the sprawling Mathare slum were engulfed by floodwaters, prompting dramatic rescue efforts by the Kenya Red Cross. Images shared on social media depicted rescue workers wading through water to evacuate stranded residents, highlighting the dire situation.

Amidst the chaos, a five-year-old boy was airlifted to safety by Kenyan police after being marooned by floods in Machakos County. The situation remains critical, with further rainfall anticipated in the coming days.

Prominent figures, including opposition senator Edwin Sifuna, have called for urgent action to address the escalating crisis, emphasizing the need for national emergency services to mobilize and save lives.

The recent floods add to the toll of devastation caused by the rainy season, with the UN humanitarian agency OCHA reporting at least 32 deaths and over 40,000 displacements in Kenya since March. The impact extends beyond Kenya, with neighboring countries like Burundi and Tanzania also grappling with displacement and loss of life due to flooding.

El Nino-induced floods have historically inflicted severe consequences in East Africa, compounding the challenges faced by a region already vulnerable to climate shocks.


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