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Floods wreak havoc in parts of East Africa

By Edith Mutethya in Nairobi, Kenya | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-04-22 16:53

Ongoing heavy rains and flooding have caused havoc across Kenya, Tanzania and Somalia, claiming lives and displacing thousands of people.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, at least 32 people have died in Kenya due to the floods, 15 people injured and two missing as of April 18.

The UN agency said more than 100,000 people have been affected, including over 40,000 people displaced in 21 out of 47 counties in the country.

Additionally, over 960 livestock have been killed and more than 9,600 hectares of croplands destroyed by floods and heavy rainfall.

On Sunday, residents of Syokimau in Machakos County had to stay indoors as their residences were flooded due to the ongoing heavy rains.

Last week, Kithure Kindiki, the cabinet secretary for internal security and national administration said the flood may cause over spilling of dams, and warned that further heavy rains could cause Tana River to burst its banks downstream leading to significant flooding in Garisa, the Tana Delta and Lamu counties.

He also warned of likely flooding in western Kenya, especially communities along lakes and rivers. This is in addition to low-lying areas in Narok, Kajiado and Mombasa as well as hilly areas traditionally prone to mudslides.

Kindiki said the government has taken proactive measures to ensure public security and safety and is prepared to mitigate any adverse effects of flooding in the country.

In Tanzania, floods have claimed more than 50 lives, displacing almost 2,000 people and affecting more than 100,000 people, according to the European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations. The most affected areas are the Coast and Morogoro regions.

In a press conference on Saturday, Mobhare Matinyi, the government's spokesperson said around 40,000 hectares of land under crops in Morogoro district have been affected by the heavy rains and flooding.

He noted that the situation has improved following reduced rains.

In Somalia, April to June rains have started but no significant flash or riverine flooding have been reported, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said. However, heavy rains have been reported in Hirshabelle State, South West State and in Banadir regions.

Moderate to heavy rains are also projected to continue over several areas in Hirshabelle and South West states, with chances of very heavy rains over some areas in Bay, Sool and Sanaag regions.

The UN agency warned that up to 770,000 people could be affected by the heavy rains in 22 hotspot districts across the country, including in 15 cholera hotspot districts.

On Sunday, the IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre warned that extremely heavy rainfall, reaching top 1 percent on record are expected over isolated areas in central parts of Ethiopia and central to northern Kenya.

Additionally, very heavy rainfall, reaching the top 5 percent on record, is expected in most parts of southern and eastern Ethiopia into north-eastern Somalia, northern and western Kenya, and cross border regions of Rwanda-Burundi-Tanzania.

Heavy rainfall, reaching the top 10 percent on record, is also expected over northern and western Uganda, central to southern Somalia and eastern Tanzania, the centre said.

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