Kenya floods claim 120 lives and displace thousands.
The death toll from the floods that have been affecting several parts of Kenya since October has risen to 120, according to the latest reports from humanitarian organisations. The floods have also displaced about 58,000 people from their homes and damaged infrastructure, livestock and crops.
The floods are caused by heavy rains that have been falling in the country as a result of El Niño conditions and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole, which have increased the moisture and temperature in the atmosphere. The Kenya Meteorological Department has warned that the rains are expected to continue until December, posing a high risk of more flooding and landslides.
Some of the worst affected areas include Mandera, Garissa, Wajir, Tana River and Turkana counties, where rivers have overflowed their banks and submerged villages, roads and bridges. In Mandera County, at least 17 people have died and over 6,000 households have been displaced by the floods, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In Garissa County, 12 people have lost their lives and over 1,600 households have been affected. In Wajir County, five people have died and nearly 100 shops, 231 latrines and three boreholes have been damaged. In Tana River County, over 10,000 people have been evacuated to higher ground as the Tana River reached its highest level in 50 years. In Turkana County, five people have drowned and over 43 refugee families have been impacted by the floods.
The floods have also disrupted the livelihoods of many people, especially farmers and pastoralists, who have lost their crops and livestock. According to OCHA, over a thousand livestock and 221 acres of agricultural farmland have been lost as of 5 November. The floods have also increased the risk of waterborne diseases, such as cholera and typhoid, as well as vector-borne diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever, due to the contamination of water sources and the breeding of mosquitoes.
Humanitarian partners, including the government, the Red Cross, the UN and NGOs, are working together to assess the needs and provide assistance to the affected communities. The most urgent humanitarian needs include shelter and non-food items, food, water, sanitation and hygiene services, and facilities to relocate and rescue those marooned by flooding. However, the response is hampered by the limited access to some of the affected areas, the lack of funding and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has also affected the health and economy of the country.
The Kenya Red Cross Society has launched an emergency appeal for $5 million to support 150,000 people affected by the floods for six months. The UN and its partners have also allocated $3.3 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund to support the flood response in Kenya. However, more resources are needed to meet the growing humanitarian needs and to prevent further loss of lives and livelihoods.