Flooding situation in Nairobi escalates to extreme levels, Kenya

kenya flood april 2024

Kenya is facing a severe flood crisis with 38 confirmed deaths and more than 40 000 displaced due to continuous heavy rains since mid-March 2024. The floods have particularly devastated Nairobi and surrounding regions, prompting urgent national emergency responses.

Since mid-March 2024, Kenya has been grappling with intense rainfall that has caused widespread flooding across the country. As of April 24, the situation has worsened, with the death toll reaching 38.

The Kenya Red Cross now classifies the situation as moving from an emergency to a disaster level. This escalation is due to the increased intensity of the rains over the past few days, affecting multiple regions including the Coastal area, Central areas including Nairobi, the Western Highlands, Rift Valley, Lake Victoria Basin, Southeastern lowlands, and Northeastern regions.

In Nairobi, the situation has become particularly dire. The Nairobi River and the Athi River have both overflowed, significantly affecting the city’s infrastructure. Streets once bustling with activity are now waterlogged, disrupting daily life and mobility.

According to local authorities, 35 people in Nairobi have died due to the floods since the onset of the rains. City Senator Edwin Sifuna described the local government’s response as overwhelmed by the scale of the crisis.

“The situation in Nairobi has escalated to extreme levels. The County Government for all its efforts is clearly overwhelmed. We need all national emergency services mobilized to save lives,” Sifuna said on April 24.

YouTube video
YouTube video

The flooding has displaced over 40 000 people since March, with many forced to seek refuge in displacement camps.

The floods have submerged major highways, causing significant traffic disruptions throughout the country. Local media reports highlight the plight of residents in the Mathare slum, who have been forced to sleep on rooftops to escape the rising waters.

The disaster has also rendered over 60 families homeless in Kirinyaga County after the River Thiba burst its banks. Venant Ndhigila, Head of Disaster Operations at the Kenya Red Cross, emphasized the grim reality for those most vulnerable, stating that the floods disproportionately affect those without alternatives.

Amid the chaos, a heartening rescue operation took place in Yatta, south of Nairobi, where a five-year-old boy stranded by the floods was safely airlifted by a police helicopter and taken to a nearby hospital for care.

The situation remains critical, with over 110 000 people now affected across 24 counties.

Kenya Railways has suspended commuter train services nationwide as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of its passengers. The national response continues to be tested as the country endures one of its most challenging natural disasters in recent history.

The Kenya Meteorological Department has issued warnings of continued heavy to very heavy rainfall, which could exacerbate the current conditions. They anticipate that the ongoing rains could trigger mudslides, particularly in regions like the Central Regional Commissioner Fredrick Shisia’s jurisdiction, where residents have been advised to move to higher ground.


1 Kenya: Floods cause widespread devastation in Nairobi – BBC – April 24, 2024

2 Floods Operations 2024 – Kenya Red Cross – April 18, 2024

3 Devastating flooding in east Africa claims dozens of lives and displaces thousands – Sky News – April 24, 2024


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