According to Kenya’s interior minister, 34 people lost their lives as a result of overnight floods in Western Kenya on Saturday, November 23rd. Mudslides killed 29 of the 34 confirmed dead. 17 people died in a mudslide in Takmal, a village in the Pokot Central district and they claimed 12 more in the Parua and Tapach in Pokot South.
Floodwaters from two local rivers swept the remaining five away in their car while they were traveling on a road connecting the two Kenyan villages of Kitale and Lodwar. Unfortunately, this is not the first disaster to strike the region.
Unusually heavy rainfall and resulting floods have killed 72 East Africans over the past month and a half. It’s estimated that more than a million have been affected and the downpour is expected to continue for four to six weeks. According to the Internal Rescue Committee, Somalia, South Sudan, and Kenya had been suffering from severe drought when the rains came. Experts say the severity of the recent rains is unusual and exceptionally threatening to Kenya’s agriculture, which relies entirely on rainfall as its water supply.
Already weakened by failing crops from the prior drought, Saturday night’s floods only increased the damage to the region, claiming lives and destroying those of survivors. Fred Matiangi, Kenya’s interior cabinet secretary, said the government sent in military and police aid via helicopter to help the villagers, but the full extent of the disaster was uncertain at the time. Matiangi says rescue and recovery efforts are their top priority as they continue to evaluate the gravity of the situation, but the persisting extreme weather in the region makes this very challenging.
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