Kenya floods 2024

Kenya floods of 2024

Kenya floods

The Kenya floods of 2024 might be the worst environmental disaster the country has faced since 2019. According to the Director, Kenya Metrological Department, heavy rainfall of over 40mm and strong winds of 40 knots (20.6m/s) have triggered severe floods in over 40 counties across Kenya including Nakuru County and Nairobi capital city.

The heavy rains are caused by unprecedented climate phenomenon known as the Indian Ocean Dipole (Indian Niño). This is associated with variations in the surface temperatures of alternating heat and cold ocean currents that influence rainfall and wind patterns along across the East African community.  Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi are also experiencing floods.

The climate and weather events that results from the Indian Ocean Dipole may either be positive, neutral or negative. For instance, the Kenya floods of 2024 are categorized into the positive phase when the Indian Ocean surface temperatures become warmer than normal resulting into heavy rains and floods. In extreme cases, this climate pattern can cause cyclones. In fact, a tropical cyclone named Hidaya, was expected that it hit many areas along the coastal areas of Kenya and Tanzania.  On 4, May, the Cyclone Hidaya only hit the Mafia Island located 160 km south of Stone Town, Zanzibar Islands. The weather forecast indicates something else. After making its first landfall, the cyclone has lost strength and isn’t expected to go further. However, heavy rains were expected to continue through the month of May.

As such, several rivers including Nairobi river, which flows through Nairobi capital city overflowed its banks. Slum settlements along the river basin including Mathare and Mukuru Kwa Reuben were severely affected due to poor drainage system. Among other Kenya flood prone areas include flat areas within the Tana, Mara, Nzoi River basins.  Over 173 dams and water reservoirs including Kijabe dam in the Maai Mahiu filled up and caused mudslides. Kenya floods of 2024 have resulted into loss of lives, displacement of people, and distruction of infrastructure. Contamination of clean water can lead to outbreak of water borne diseases including malaria and chorela.

According to Kenya Red Cross Society update of Tuesday 7th, May, 2024, over 210 people have lost their lives.  Among other 153 are still missing. Over 34,468 households have been displaced, 61,425 including 101 schools and 37 health facilities affected by floods. In the Maai Mahiu village alone, 54 km North West of Nairobi, mudslides buried 50 people. Disease outbreaks including over 30 cases of cholera have been reported in Garsen Sub-county in Tana River County. Kenya floods have also damaged 53 roads among other infrastructures were left submerged including several accommodations along the Talek River in Masai Mara National Reserve.

Search and rescue operations

Search and rescue operations for the victims of Kenya floods of 2024 are ongoing in different parts of the country. In Nairobi slum settlements, Nakuru, Tana river, Kirinyaga, and Homa bay counties. Over 10,24 people have been rescued, 183 IDP camps established, and 6,295 people reached with health outreaches.

The government of Kenya with support from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees has emb is offering emergency relief. From food, safe drinking water, mattresses, blankets, to mosquito nets. About 14,964 households across the country have been supplied with food as well as non-food items distribution is ongoing.

Early warning messages are also being sent to local authorities in flood prone areas. As water levels are increasing in the Tana river as well as Masinga and Kiambera dams. The longest rainy season in Kenya occurs in March, April and May. Heavy rainfall is expected to continue across the country.

The rainy season doesn’t normally affect people as it has done in this time round.  In fact it can be a good time to visit Kenya for safari. Due to less number of visitors, the demand is always low. Discounted safaris including accommodation are available for booking through a tour operator.

Advistory on Kenya floods

Follow the Kenya Meteorological Department for news and announcements about when and where to expect rain in the country. The Kenya Red Cross also offers information and should be contacted for emergency assistance.

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