Nairobi, Kenya | By Michael Wandati | Heavy rains and floods ravaged major parts of Kenya, sweeping away homes and livestock and destroying roads and electric transmission lines, authorities said. At least six people were killed and over 5,000 households impacted.
Among the victims were an 85-year-old grandmother and two students who recently completed their KCPE exams, tragically swept away by powerful torrents in Elwak, Mandera County.
Another victim perished when a house collapsed in the Kisauni Area of Mombasa County during a relentless downpour on on Thursday 2, November 2023 night. In addition, two more lives were lost in Kwale and Meru counties.
The deluge also submerged two schools and two health centers in Mandera County, causing significant disruptions. Alu-Weys Primary School, Elwak Deb Primary School, Elwak Sub County Referral Hospital, and Adra Health Centre all suffered severe damage.
The impact extended to over 5,000 households, with an unconfirmed number of livestock being swept away by the floods in different parts of Kenya.
Kenya’s Meteorological Department had earlier warned of above average rainfall.
“Flood waters may appear in places where it has not rained heavily especially downstream. Residents are advised to avoid driving through, or walking in moving water or open fields and not to shelter under trees and near grilled windows when raining to minimize exposure to lightning strikes,” read the alert.
The situation’s seriousness prompted the Ministry of Health in Mandera County to issue an alert, warning of a potential waterborne epidemic in Elwak sub-county, which bore the brunt of the catastrophe.
Elwak town is currently inundated, with overflowing latrines leading to stagnant water accumulation on plots, streets, and other public areas.
In the Kisauni region of Mombasa County, a fatality occurred as a house succumbed to the relentless rains. Drainage systems became clogged, exacerbating the flooding that persisted throughout Thursday night.
In nearby Kwale County, another individual fell victim to the fury of flash floods while attempting to cross River Ngoni in Maweu, Samburu village.
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In the Igembe area of Meru County, one person was swept away by surging floodwaters while heading home.
The heavy rains led to the bursting of River Athwana’s banks, resulting in extensive floods that displaced hundreds of residents from their homes.
Following the heavy rains, numerous families in Tigania, Meru County, found themselves homeless and in dire need of food, bedding, and clothing. Desperate for assistance, they have appealed to the government for emergency relief, particularly for families with school-going children.
Heavy rains were also reported in the neighboring countries of Tanzania and Somalia, where the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said “several homes have been inundated and bridges damaged.”