Kenya Floods Kill at Least 70, 8 Bodies Retrieved from River in Makueni County

Devastating floods in Kenya kill 70, displace over 130,000 as heavy rains continue to batter the region, prompting emergency evacuations and relief efforts.

Ebenezer Mensah
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Kenya Floods Kill at Least 70, 8 Bodies Retrieved from River in Makueni County

Kenya Floods Kill at Least 70, 8 Bodies Retrieved from River in Makueni County

Flooding and heavy rains in Kenya have taken the lives of at least 70 people since mid-March, according to a government spokesperson. The floods have affected over 130,000 people across the country, with thousands of houses washed away and schools and infrastructure damaged.

In the latest incident, eight bodies were retrieved from the Muswii River in Makueni County on Saturday after a truck carrying sand plunged into the floodwaters. Makueni Deputy Governor Lucy Mulili stated that residents had recovered the eight bodies, while about ten people are still missing. Seven people were rescued alive from the river.

The incident occurred when the truck attempted to cross the flooded Kwa Muswii River on Sultan Hamud Road in Makueni. Eyewitnesses reported seeing several people sitting on top of the truck as it tried to navigate the shallow end of the river. However, the vehicle accidentally slid into the deep part and overturned, leaving those on board helpless against the raging floodwaters.

The Kenya Red Cross and the Makueni County Department of Disaster Management collaborated to retrieve the bodies from the river. Communities living close to the Muswii River were urged to report any floating bodies to aid the ongoing rescue efforts.

Why this matters: The devastating floods in Kenya have highlighted the vulnerability of communities living in flood-prone areas and the need for improved disaster preparedness and response measures. The loss of lives and extensive damage to infrastructure emphasize the urgency of addressing the challenges posed by extreme weather events in the region.

The Kenyan government has set aside 4 billion Kenyan shillings (around $29 million) for emergency relief efforts to assist those affected by the floods. The funds will be used to provide emergency housing, food assistance, and to repair damaged infrastructure such as roads and bridges.

The heavy rainfall has affected all 47 counties in Kenya, with the Rift Valley, Eastern, Nyanza, and Western regions being the hardest hit. Nairobi County alone has reported 32 deaths and 16,909 households displaced due to the floods.

The Kenya Meteorological Department has issued a heavy rainfall advisory for several parts of the country, warning of more intense flooding from April 25th to 28th, 2024. The government has warned Kenyans, including motorists and pedestrians, not to cross flood waters during the ongoing rainy season to prevent further loss of life.

The flooding has also impacted neighboring countries, with at least 155 people killed in Tanzania and over 200,000 affected in Burundi. As the heavy rains continue, the Kenyan government and humanitarian agencies have set up 59 camps across the country to house the over 131,450 people displaced by the floods. The Kenya Red Cross has rescued 350 people and provided aid to more than 22,000 affected individuals. President William Ruto has authorized emergency crews to forcibly evacuate people living in dangerous areas to protect them from the floods, even without their consent.

Key Takeaways

  • Flooding in Kenya has killed at least 70 people since mid-March, affecting 130,000+.
  • 8 bodies recovered after a truck carrying sand plunged into floodwaters, 10 still missing.
  • Kenyan govt allocated $29M for emergency relief, issued heavy rainfall advisory for April 25-28.
  • Flooding also impacted Tanzania (155+ killed) and Burundi (200,000+ affected).
  • Kenyan govt authorized forced evacuations of people living in dangerous flood-prone areas.