Over 170 Dead in Kenya Floods as Residents Search for Survivors

Devastating floods in Kenya kill over 100, displace thousands, and impact wildlife, highlighting the growing threat of climate change. Urgent need for improved disaster preparedness and response measures.

Nasiru Eneji Abdulrasheed
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Over 100 Dead in Kenya Floods as Residents Search for Survivors

Over 100 Dead in Kenya Floods as Residents Search for Survivors

Heavy rains and fatal flooding in Kenya have killed over 100 people, with residents in the town of Mai Mahiu desperately searching for survivors buried under debris. The Kenya Red Cross has been evacuating tourists stranded in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, which has been overwhelmed by the flooding.

Survivors in Mai Mahiu described the onslaught of water that swept away houses, cars, and railway tracks. At least 169 people have died across Kenya since last month due to the heavy rains and flooding, with more than 190,000 people forced from their homes, including 147,000 in the capital Nairobi. Several parts of the country are expected to experience further heavy rainfall in the coming days.

In the worst-hit area of Mai Mahiu, at least 48 people have been killed and dozens remain missing after a mudslide and flash floods took lives. The water swept away cars, railway tracks, and houses. Search and rescue operations are ongoing, but locals say the efforts have been slow due to a lack of equipment. The Kenya Red Cross Society has provided a mobile refrigerator to hold the bodies of the victims.

Why this matters: The devastating floods in Kenya highlight the increasing impact of climate change on at-risk communities. As extreme weather events become more frequent and severe, it is essential for governments and aid organizations to improve disaster preparedness and response measures to protect lives and livelihoods.

The Kenyan government has ordered residents in flood-prone regions to evacuate or face forcible relocation, warning that they will be moved by force if they refuse. Water levels at two hydroelectric dams have reached "historic highs," putting downstream residents at risk. President William Ruto has urged citizens living in landslide-prone areas to leave or risk losing their lives.

The flooding has also affected the Maasai Mara game reserve, with over 10 lodges and camps submerged and fears that some animals may have been swept away. The Kenya Red Cross evacuated 36 people by air and another 25 through an aqua rescue team. The damage caused is estimated to be in millions of shillings, with some structures destroyed beyond repair.

Heavy rains and flooding have also impacted neighboring countries, with over 150 people killed and hundreds of thousands displaced in Tanzania, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Burundi. Scientists say climate change is causing more intense and frequent extreme weather events in the region.

"The floods came and swept away everything. We have lost loved ones, our homes, and our livelihoods," said Jane Wanjiru, a resident of Mai Mahiu who lost four family members

Key Takeaways

  • Deadly floods in Kenya have killed over 100 people, with 169 deaths since last month.
  • Over 190,000 people forced from homes, including 147,000 in Nairobi, due to heavy rains.
  • At least 48 killed in worst-hit Mai Mahiu, with dozens missing after mudslide and flash floods.
  • Kenyan government orders evacuation of flood-prone regions, warns of forcible relocation.
  • Climate change causing more intense and frequent extreme weather events in the region.