Fifteen Rescued from Flood-Marooned Homes in Kinanie, Kenya as Sabaki River Overflows

Heavy rains in Kenya cause Sabaki River to overflow, trapping 19 people. Rescue efforts underway, with 15 people saved so far. Severe flooding across the country highlights need for improved disaster preparedness.

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Israel Ojoko
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Fifteen Rescued from Flood-Marooned Homes in Kinanie, Kenya as Sabaki River Overflows

Fifteen Rescued from Flood-Marooned Homes in Kinanie, Kenya as Sabaki River Overflows

Heavy rains on April 22, 2024 caused the Sabaki River in Kinanie, Machakos County, Kenya to overflow its banks, leaving 19 people trapped in their flood-marooned homes. The Kenya Red Cross Society, in collaboration with the Machakos County Government, launched a rescue operation to aid the affected residents. So far, 15 people have been successfully rescued, including 10 adults and 4 children, with no fatalities reported.

Efforts are still ongoing to locate and rescue the remaining 5 people. A multi-agency response team, including officers from the Kenya Red Cross and the police, is engaged in the rescue efforts. The heavy rains have caused widespread flooding and destruction across Kenya, with the Red Cross reporting that as of April 18, 2024, an estimated 103,485 people (20,697 households) have been affected, including 40,265 people (8,053 households) displaced and 32 deaths and 15 injured across the country.

Why this matters: The severe flooding in Kenya highlights the devastating impact of extreme weather events and the urgent need for improved disaster preparedness and response measures. As climate change continues to exacerbate the frequency and intensity of such events, it is imperative for governments and aid organizations to work together to protect vulnerable communities and build resilience against future disasters.

Several other areas within the Athi River subcounty were also flooded, and the deputy county commissioner advised residents to evacuate due to the risk of further flooding. The flooding was caused by drainage challenges in the area and water from higher grounds. Machakos Governor Wavinya Ndeti summoned emergency disaster response teams and advised dozens of affected families to relocate. The county government provided food, bedding, and other basic necessities to the displaced families at Kinanie Primary School.

The National Disaster Management Unit (NDMU) has warned Kenyans to brace for heavy downpours in the coming week, with the Lake Victoria Basin, Rift Valley, Highlands, Southeastern Lowlands, coastal areas, and Northeastern sector expected to experience significant rainfall exceeding 40mm within 24 hours. The NDMU has also cautioned residents against driving or walking through moving water, seeking shelter under trees or near grilled windows, and advised them to be vigilant for potential floods, flash floods, and reduced visibility.

Governor Ndeti ordered the evacuation of families living around the affected area and instructed residents who had built structures along the riparian lands to demolish them. "I have instructed the county disaster management team to act swiftly and evacuate the affected families to safer grounds," she said. The heavy rains and flooding have also caused disruptions to traffic on the Mombasa Road, with motorists advised to avoid the area until the floods subside.

Key Takeaways

  • Heavy rains caused Sabaki River to overflow, trapping 19 people in Kinanie, Kenya.
  • 15 people rescued so far, with 5 still missing; multi-agency rescue efforts ongoing.
  • Flooding has affected 103,485 people (20,697 households) across Kenya, with 40,265 displaced.
  • Authorities warn of more heavy rains and flooding, advise residents to evacuate.
  • Governor orders evacuation of families, demolition of structures along riparian lands.