70 killed in Kenya flood 'emergency', says president

Many roads have been washed away, leaving trucks carrying food, medicine and fuel stranded

By AFP

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An aerial view shows a deserted and flooded traditional homestead following heavy rains in Garsen, Tana Delta within Tana River county, Kenya, on November 23. — Reuters
An aerial view shows a deserted and flooded traditional homestead following heavy rains in Garsen, Tana Delta within Tana River county, Kenya, on November 23. — Reuters

Published: Sat 25 Nov 2023, 4:26 PM

Seventy people have died in widespread flooding in Kenya that has also driven tens of thousands of people from their homes, President William Ruto said on Saturday, describing it as an "emergency situation".

Kenya and neighbouring Somalia and Ethiopia, countries that are only just emerging from the worst drought in four decades, are now experiencing devastating flooding caused by rains linked to the El Nino weather pattern.

Ruto said the cabinet would hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss recommendations on how to manage the crisis.

"Unfortunately, we have lost 70 people across Kenya because of these rains and about 36,160 households have been displaced so far," he said in an address from State House.

"Kenya is already soaked," he said, adding that the Meteorological Department was forecasting more rains to come, heightening the risk of further flooding.

"Therefore we need to prepare ourselves for the emergency situation that is going to ensue," he said.

Many roads, especially in the northern part of Kenya, have been washed away, he said, leaving trucks carrying food, medicine and fuel stranded.

He said the Kenya Defence Force had been called in to airlift supplies to marooned communities.

Ruto was widely chastised after saying last month that the East African country would not experience El Nino rains, only heavy rainful that "would not be destructive".

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