The death toll has increased to 24 after a rain-induced landslide on November 22, 2019, in West Pokot county, Kenya. Villages have also been flooded, and at least one bridge was damaged. The severe weather is being influenced by the very strong, positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) predicted to affect parts of Africa particularly Eastern regions from October to December.
West Pokot county commissioner Apolo Okello told journalists that heavy rains made the search operations more difficult but rescue teams are trying their best. Rescue efforts had to be delayed due to roads and bridges being cut off after streams became raging torrents.
Things are really bad on the ground pic.twitter.com/W6IsFNMqMl— Danson Lomeyan Kutoi (@mixers_mbist) November 23, 2019
Two children were pulled out alive from the ruins of their mud-covered homes, and both have been rushed to the hospital.
"Seven people of the same family were buried alive in the Nyarkulian area, Pokot South and 24 were buried alive in Muino area, Pokot Central sub-county," said Okello.
According to the local administrators, more people and animals could still be trapped.
Deputy President William Samoei Ruto addressed the situation on his social media account, expressing his condolences and urging residents in vulnerable locations to stay alert.
Sincere condolences to the families of the victims of the West Pokot landslide. May God give you peace and comfort, and may our prayers ease the pain of this great loss. We urge those in vulnerable areas to be on alert during this period of the short rains.— William Samoei Ruto, PhD (@WilliamsRuto) November 23, 2019
The landslide occurred after weeks of destructive rains and flooding across East Africa. The violent weather has prompted hundreds of thousands in Somalia to evacuate, as well as in South Sudan where floodwaters engulfed major roads. In parts of Ethiopia and Tanzania, fatalities were reported due to flash floods and mudslides.
Featured image credit: KTN News Kenya/YouTube