Floods claim ten lives in Kenya as two go missing

By Esther Muhozi
On 25 April 2024 at 12:41

Devastating flash floods have swept across Kenya, claiming at least 32 lives and leaving two individuals missing . The disaster, exacerbated by heavy rains since mid-March, has affected approximately 103,500 people, with the past week witnessing an alarming increase in the intensity of downpours.

The Kenyan Red Cross has been at the forefront of the emergency response, conducting over 188 rescues since the rains began. However, the scale of the flooding has overwhelmed local government efforts, particularly in the capital city of Nairobi, where roads were shut down and residential areas remain inundated.

Senator Edwin Sifuna of Nairobi expressed the city’s desperate situation on social media, stating, "The situation in Nairobi has escalated to extreme levels. The county government for all its efforts is clearly overwhelmed. We need all national emergency services mobilized to save lives."

He highlighted the plight of residents trapped on rooftops in the informal settlement areas, sharing distressing visuals of the affected locals.

The Kenya Red Cross Society reported rescuing 18 people who were stranded by floodwaters in Nairobi’s Mathare 4A neighborhood. The organization continues to perform life-saving operations across the country, striving to reach those cut off by the floods.

Infrastructure has also taken a significant hit, with two major highways out of Nairobi experiencing severe disruptions due to the floods.

The Kenya Urban Roads Authority has had to partially close four major roads and has issued warnings for others, urging motorists to exercise caution.

β€œThe traffic police and our technical team are on the ground to direct traffic and enhance the safety of motorists,” the Authority stated.

In response to the risk posed by the unstable conditions, Kenya Railways has suspended all commuter train services across the country. "We are compelled to take these precautionary measures because the safety of our customers is always of paramount importance to us," said a spokesperson for Kenya Railways.

The Kenya Meteorological Department has issued warnings for "heavy to very heavy" rainfall in several parts of the country, indicating that the weather is expected to continue its harsh pattern in the coming days. The department’s latest forecasts predict ongoing rainfall, which could exacerbate the already dire situation.

As Kenya grapples with this natural calamity, the need for a coordinated national response becomes increasingly critical, with agencies and communities calling for immediate action to mitigate further loss and ensure the safety of its citizens.