Deadly Floods Displace Hundreds of Thousands in East Africa, Killing Around 100

Devastating floods in East Africa displace hundreds of thousands, kill over 100, and destroy infrastructure, highlighting the region's vulnerability to climate change-fueled extreme weather events.

Ebenezer Mensah
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Deadly Floods Displace Hundreds of Thousands in East Africa, Killing Around 100

Deadly Floods Displace Hundreds of Thousands in East Africa, Killing Around 100

Devastating floods have displaced hundreds of thousands and killed around 100 people in Kenya, Tanzania, and Burundi in April 2024. The heavy rains and flooding, worsened by the El Niño climate pattern, have caused widespread damage to homes, infrastructure, and crops across the region.

In Tanzania, the flooding has been particularly severe, with at least 155 people killed and over 200,000 others affected, according to Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa. "Roads, bridges and railways have been destroyed," he said, adding that the government has closed schools and is working to rescue those stranded by the floodwaters.

Kenya has also been hit hard by the deadly floods, with about 45 people killed since the start of the rainy season in March. In the capital Nairobi, flash floods have claimed at least 13 lives, including several in the city's Mathare slum, where residents have had to retrieve bodies from submerged homes. President William Ruto has convened an emergency meeting and directed the National Youth Service to provide land for those displaced by the floods.

In Burundi, months of relentless rains have displaced around 96,000 people, contributing to the devastation in the region. The UN humanitarian agency OCHA has also reported flash floods and displacement in Somalia.

Why this matters: The deadly floods in East Africa highlight the region's vulnerability to extreme weather events, which are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change. The loss of life, displacement of hundreds of thousands, and destruction of infrastructure and crops emphasize the urgent need for improved disaster preparedness and climate resilience in the affected countries.

Experts attribute the heavy rainfall to the El Niño weather pattern, which is expected to continue fueling above-normal temperatures and precipitation across East Africa in the coming months. As the region confronts the aftermath of the floods, Tanzania's Prime Minister Majaliwa has warned those living in low-lying areas to move to higher ground, stating, "Let them move where there is no flooding before we come to their rescue."

Key Takeaways

  • Devastating floods in East Africa displaced hundreds of thousands, killed ~100 people.
  • Tanzania hit hardest, with 155 killed and 200,000+ affected, infrastructure destroyed.
  • Kenya also severely impacted, with 45 deaths and flash floods in Nairobi slums.
  • Burundi displaced 96,000 people, Somalia also affected by flash floods.
  • Extreme weather events linked to climate change, urgent need for disaster preparedness.