Boat Capsizes in Tana River, Kenya, Leaving Several Feared Dead

Tragic boat capsizing in Kenya kills dozens of flood victims, highlighting the devastating impact of heavy rains and government's response under scrutiny.

Aqsa Younas Rana
New Update
Boat Capsizes in Tana River, Kenya, Leaving Several Feared Dead

Boat Capsizes in Tana River, Kenya, Leaving Several Feared Dead

A boat carrying at least 52 flood victims capsized in Tana River County, Kenya on Sunday amid heavy rains and flooding. The boat was reportedly overloaded with evacuees from flooded areas and encountered rough waters, leading to the tragic accident. Several people are feared dead, and a search is underway for 23 missing people.

According to survivors, the boat was transporting people across the flooded section of the Madogo-Garissa road when it overturned in the raging waters of the Tana River around 6:30 pm local time. Eyewitness videos showed several people clinging to the capsized boat and others struggling to swim in the flood. "I narrowly escaped drowning as I do not know how to swim," said Faith Maria, one of the survivors.

Rescue teams from the Kenya Red Cross and local authorities are currently at the site, working to locate the missing individuals. So far, three bodies have been retrieved and 22 people have been rescued and are receiving care at Madogo Hospital. However, challenging conditions have made some areas inaccessible, hampering rescue efforts.

Why this matters: The tragic incident highlights the devastating impact of the ongoing heavy rains and severe flooding in Kenya, which have officially killed at least 70 people and displaced over 131,000 residents across the country. The government's response and management of the crisis have come under scrutiny as affected communities struggle to cope with the loss of lives, homes, and livelihoods.

The government has suspended the operations of private boats in the flooded area and launched a manhunt for the owner of the capsized boat, who is said to be from Lamu County and was allegedly operating without a license. Garissa Governor Nathif Jama Adam termed the incident "unfortunate" and criticized authorities for neglecting the maintenance of the Garissa-Nairobi highway and the management of water release from mega dams, which he said contributed to the flooding and loss of lives.

Relatives of the victims have accused the government of negligence in the retrieval of bodies, saying only the Kenya Red Cross Society was helping them. "The search has been slow and no government agencies like the marine and the Kenya Navy are involved," lamented Hawa Jele, who was arrested by police while trying to get closer to the scene in search of her missing relatives.

Key Takeaways

  • At least 52 flood victims capsized in Tana River, Kenya, amid heavy rains.
  • Several people feared dead, and 23 missing as boat overturned in raging waters.
  • 3 bodies retrieved, 22 rescued; challenging conditions hamper rescue efforts.
  • Govt suspends private boat operations, launches manhunt for boat owner.
  • Relatives accuse govt of negligence in retrieval of bodies, only Red Cross helping.