Fatalities surge to 65, widespread devastation as heavy rains continue to batter Kenya

Fatalities surge to 65, widespread devastation as heavy rains continue to batter Kenya

Five people were killed by severe flooding in the Rift Valley, raising the death toll to 65, officials confirmed on Monday, November 25, 2019. The number of affected people in West Pokot county has also increased between 80 000 to 120 000. The positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is behind the devastating weather that is forecast to affect regions in Africa, especially Eastern areas, from October to December.

The victims were returning home after attending a wedding in Tanzania when their vehicle was swept away, said police chief Daudi Loronyokwe of Kajiado Central community. Three children were among the victims, he added.

Governor John Lonyang'apuo said the worst-affected area was the West Pokot county, where there have been widespread damages caused by flooding and mudslides. At least one bridge was reportedly ruined.

One resident named William Lokapel said, "I have lost three children." He further described how his wife struggled to reach safety while clutching another child as mudslide engulfed their home.

It is rare for torrential rains to hit the region this time of the year. However, due to the IOD, parts of Africa will continue facing destructive flooding this week. The Kenya Red Cross cited the record-breaking temperature increase in the Indian Ocean that brought heavy rains in South Sudan, Somalia, and Djibouti.

Djibouti was hit by a year's worth of rain on November 21, resulting in nine casualties. 

"No one can sleep in their homes for now because we don’t know when the next landslide will occur," resident Peter Lokor said.

"So many people have been affected, actually all those who live in this area, and everybody is afraid of going back home."

On November 25, the Kenya Meteorological Department warned of moderate to locally heavy rain that is forecast to rip through the country over the next 24 hours.

Featured image credit: @FrancescorocaTwitter

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