Heavy Floods Displace Thousands in Kenya

Kenya has experienced heavy rains and flooding, resulting in at least 38 deaths and displacement of people. The rainy season, exacerbated by climate change, has destroyed thousands of acres of crops and the loss of almost 1,000 farm animals. The Kenya Meteorological Department reports that the rains have been becoming heavier over the last week, with more rain expected throughout the nation in the coming days.

In Tanzania, continuous rain has killed at least 155 people and injured 236 more, affecting almost 200,000 people. The rains have also damaged farms, bridges, highways, schools, and places of worship. Port city Dar es Salaam and other cities in Tanzania are bracing for further flooding and high winds.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that over 30,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, due to the heavy rainfall the nation has experienced. The Kenya Red Cross Society reported that seven children were among the 18 trapped individuals rescued from the area on Tuesday.

Kenyan Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua announced that the government is establishing an emergency response center to monitor the situation and initiate immediate intervention to save lives and property. Interior Ministry cabinet secretary Kithure Kindiki said that many government departments are launching a coordinated effort to help victims, rescue those in danger, and evacuate those still in danger.

Kenya Railways canceled Wednesday’s commuter train service due to the heavy rains, while the Kenya Urban Routes Authority temporarily blocked four significant routes in Nairobi. Burundi has seen the displacement of around 100,000 people, while Tanzania has lost at least 58 lives. 

Heavy rainfall in East Africa is often caused by the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which describes the disparity in sea-surface temperatures in different regions of the Indian Ocean.