Ten people died and several others were missing on Wednesday in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, where neighborhoods were flooded after a night of heavy rains, a police official told AFP.

“The number of bodies recovered so far is 10 and we have more people missing,” said Fred Abuga, police commander of Starehe sub-county in the center of the city.

A total of “60,000 people, mainly women and children, were seriously affected by the sudden and devastating floods that hit the city,” county authorities said in a statement, estimating that Nairobi was “on the brink of collapse.” a humanitarian crisis.

The rising waters have affected both slums, such as Mathare, and certain upscale neighborhoods, such as Runda, where the UN regional headquarters is located.

Kenya has been hit in recent weeks by heavy rainfall in East Africa, where the rainy season is intensified by the El Niño climatic phenomenon.

The UN humanitarian agency (Ocha) reported, as of April 18, at least 32 people having died and more than 40,000 displaced in the country since the start of the rainy season in March.

– “Disaster” –

In Nairobi, torrential rains overnight caused the Athi, Ngong and Mau Mau rivers to burst their banks.

In the Mathare slum, one of the hardest hit areas, residents were waist-deep in water, according to images released by the Kenyan Red Cross, which carried out evacuation operations there.

Other images posted on social media showed people sheltering on the tin roofs of their makeshift homes.

“We have more than 10 people who have not been found, we think they drowned last night,” said Thomas Adika, a resident who participated in the search on Wednesday.

According to residents, they disappeared when the neighboring river in flood swept away homes located on the bank.
Several major traffic routes were flooded, trapping cars and trucks.

The railway company Kenya Railways has announced the suspension of commuter train operations.

“The city is at a standstill because most of the roads are flooded. We have to take longer routes and in some cases we cannot reach our destination,” VTC driver Kelvin Mwangi told AFP.

In the business center (CBD), one of the main avenues was blocked on Wednesday morning by the fall of two trees.

“This rain is a disaster. We fear the situation will get worse if it continues for two more days,” said Rosemary Okello, a trader.

Weather services have warned that “heavy to very heavy” rainfall is forecast through May in several areas.

– “Extreme levels” –

Opposition figure Senator Edwin Sifuna told X that the situation had “reached extreme levels” and that county authorities were “clearly overwhelmed”.

“We need (to see) all national emergency services mobilized to save lives,” he added.

On Tuesday, Kenyan police announced that they had rescued a five-year-old child using a helicopter, trapped by water for several days in Machakos county, about 150 kilometers east of the capital.

Several countries in eastern Africa have been affected in recent weeks by unusually heavy rainfall, caused in particular by the El Niño phenomenon which began in mid-2023 and could last until May, warned in March World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

In Tanzania, they caused at least 58 deaths in the first two weeks of April. In Burundi, the authorities have reported 96,000 internally displaced people due to almost incessant rains for several months.

The region has already suffered the severe ravages of El Niño, a source of intense precipitation.

In December, more than 300 people died in various disasters caused by heavy rains in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.

From October 1997 to January 1998, gigantic floods fueled by torrential rains caused by El Niño caused more than 6,000 deaths in five countries in the region.

Leave a reply below

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Contact Business

Captcha Code