Kenyan President Orders Evacuation as Floods Kill 48 and Displace Over 100,000

Devastating floods in Kenya kill 48, displace over 100,000; President Ruto orders evacuations as crisis worsens across East Africa.

Ebenezer Mensah
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Kenyan President Orders Evacuation as Floods Kill 48 and Displace Over 100,000

Kenyan President Orders Evacuation as Floods Kill 48 and Displace Over 100,000

On April 30, 2024, President William Ruto of Kenya visited the flood-hit Kamuchiri village in Nakuru County, ordering residents near high-risk areas to evacuate within 48 hours. The devastating floods have killed 48 people and displaced over 100,000 nationwide since mid-March.

The Cabinet cautioned that rain-swollen water levels at two Kenyan hydroelectric dams, Masinga and Kiambere, have reached 'historic highs,' posing a threat to those downstream. Residents of areas with a history of flooding or landslides, as well as those near dams and rivers considered high-risk, will be told to evacuate by Wednesday. Those who refuse will be moved by force.

Why this matters: The severe flooding in Kenya is part of a larger crisis affecting East Africa, with over 150 people killed in neighboring Tanzania and Somalia, and hundreds of thousands affected in Ethiopia and Burundi. The government's response and preparedness are under scrutiny as the nation confronts the devastating consequences of the floods.

Search and rescue efforts are ongoing in Kamuchiri village, where a makeshift dam burst, killing at least 48 people. Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki reported that 45 bodies had been retrieved along the path of the flash floods and landslide, with over 110 persons rescued and recuperating in various hospitals within Nakuru County.

The ministry stated, "The channel got blocked due to debris, stones, trees, and soil brought about by the heavy downpour, preventing water from flowing through the River Tongi course and its small tributaries, which then swept the railway line and moved downstream with high speed and velocity, causing destruction of property and loss of lives."

President Ruto has deployed the military to assist in the evacuation efforts. However, the government has faced criticism for being unprepared and slow to respond, despite weather warnings. The opposition accused the government of failing to make 'advance contingency plans' to deal with the crisis.

The Kenya Meteorological Department has warned Kenyans to expect more rainfall in the coming weeks, urging the public to remain vigilant and comply with safety measures issued by local authorities. The floods are exacerbating the country's humanitarian crisis following the El Nino floods in late 2023 that killed at least 178 people and displaced thousands.

President Ruto

Key Takeaways

  • Severe floods in Kenya kill 48, displace over 100,000 since mid-March 2024.
  • Kenyan govt orders evacuation of residents near high-risk areas within 48 hours.
  • Floods affect East Africa, with over 150 killed in Tanzania, Somalia, Ethiopia, Burundi.
  • Search and rescue ongoing in Kamuchiri village after dam burst, killing at least 48.
  • Kenyan govt faces criticism for slow response despite weather warnings, lack of contingency plans.