Kenya | Flood toll rises to 188 deaths since March

Kenya | Flood toll rises to 188 deaths since March
Kenya | Flood toll rises to 188 deaths since March

(Nairobi) At least 188 people have died in floods since March in Kenya, according to a new report Thursday from the Ministry of Tourism, as the East African country continues to be hit by torrential rains.


Posted at 8:24 a.m.

Hillary ORINDE and Kate OGLESBY

France Media Agency

Since the start of the rainy season, heavy rainfall, amplified by the El Niño climatic phenomenon, has caused devastating floods, leading to the destruction of roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

“The country unfortunately recorded the death of 188 people due to bad weather conditions,” the ministry said in a statement. A previous government report reported at least 179 deaths.

In addition, 125 people were injured and 90 others were missing, while 165,000 people were displaced, he added.

During the deadliest episode of these bad weather, dozens of people died during the night from Sunday to Monday when a natural dam in the center of the country burst due to the accumulation of rain.

According to the Interior Ministry, 52 bodies have been found, and 51 people are still missing near Mai Mahiu in the Rift Valley, about 60 km from the capital Nairobi.

In addition, around a hundred tourists were stranded on Wednesday by the flooding of a river in the famous Masai Mara national reserve, after heavy rainfall.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, emergency services managed to evacuate 90 people by land or air from this reserve known for its rich wildlife, where lodges and camps dedicated to safaris were flooded.

Risk of diseases

The area nevertheless remains inaccessible for the moment due to the destruction of bridges, local administrator Stephen Nakola told AFP. Around fifty camps were affected by the floods, depriving more than 500 employees of work, he added.

Although no casualties have been reported, local communities living around the reserve have been forced to leave.

“Accessing Masai Mara is a nightmare at the moment and the people stuck there are really worried, they have no road to get out,” Mr. Nakola said, adding that they fear the outbreak of diseases transmissible through the water. “The situation is likely to get worse because it continues to rain,” he said.

President William Ruto announced on Tuesday that he had mobilized the army and ordered the evacuation of people living in at-risk areas in the country.

Members of the opposition and civil society accused the government of unpreparedness in handling the crisis despite weather warnings and called for a state of disaster to be declared.

“The Kenyan government has an obligation, in terms of human rights, to avoid the foreseeable effects of climate change and extreme weather episodes, and to protect the population in the event of a disaster”, underlined Thursday the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Floods “particularly threaten marginalized and at-risk populations, including the elderly, people with disabilities, people living in poverty and rural populations,” HRW added in a statement.

The United States and the United Kingdom have issued travel alerts to Kenya, asking their nationals to exercise caution.

Several other East African countries are facing the devastating consequences of seasonal rains increased tenfold by El Niño.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “is deeply distressed” to learn of the loss of lives in floods in Burundi, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania and other parts of East Africa, said indicated his spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.

In Tanzania, at least 155 people have died in floods or landslides.

El Niño is a natural weather phenomenon generally associated with global warming, which causes droughts in some parts of the world and heavy rains elsewhere.

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