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Kenya increases emergency preparations as floods kill over 50

Monday April 29, 2024

Residents assist a woman through floodwater after heavy rains in the Mathare slums of Nairobi, Kenya, on April 24, 2024. (Photo by Joy Nabukewa/Xinhua)

Kenya said on Thursday that it has stepped up emergency measures to respond to flooding in various parts of the country caused by the ongoing heavy rains.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said the government has set up a national multi-agency flood emergency team and a response center to help contain the floods, which have killed more than 50 people.

Gachagua, who announced the measures after a meeting chaired by President William Ruto in the national capital of Nairobi, assured that the government is aware of the flood situation and has intensified its response.

"The meeting has resolved that all internally displaced persons will be facilitated to find an alternative settlement. In extreme cases, the National Youth Service will provide shelter to the most vulnerable members of our society," Gachagua said.

Kenya is currently experiencing heavier-than-normal rains that have disrupted normal business activities across the country, displaced more than 160,000 people, and destroyed property of unknown value, according to the Kenya Red Cross Society.

The Kenya Meteorological Department has predicted that the situation will continue through June, and residents of the informal settlement, inhabited mainly by low-income earners, have been marooned in their homes due to the heavy flooding.

Due to heavy rains, several rivers and dams have burst, submerging homes. Flood victims in certain regions have had to wait on treetops and roofs until the waters recede before seeking safety.

Gachagua said the multi-agency emergency response center will be based under the Ministry of Interior to monitor the flooding situation across the country and initiate immediate interventions to save lives and property from destruction.

The deputy president said the government will apply all required resources in terms of money and personnel to ensure that no life is lost, adding that food and non-food items will be provided to the affected households during the flood disaster.

Gachagua, who said the weather forecast for next week indicates that the country will receive above-normal rainfall, also urged all members of the public to exercise caution when traveling and for those living in the lowlands to move to higher ground.

The government will issue daily flood alerts to keep Kenyans informed of the rain and flooding situation, he added. 


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