Death Toll Rises to 120 in Kenya Floods

At least 120 people have died, and the members of almost 90,000 households have been displaced by flooding in Kenya, officials there said Tuesday.

Kenya, along with its neighbors, Somalia and Ethiopia, have been hit with flash floods made worse by the natural weather phenomenon of El Nino. In Somalia, nearly 100 people have died and more than 700,000 have been forced to flee their homes, the government there said. In Ethiopia, at least 43 have died, the U.N. humanitarian agency said.

The recent floods have put large amounts of farmland underwater, drowned tens of thousands of livestock and left hundreds of thousands of people without homes.

The floods follow the country’s worst drought in four decades that left many people hungry.

Four counties in eastern Kenya — Tana River, Garissa, Wajir and Mandera — have been most severely affected by the floods according to Interior Minister Raymond Omollo.

“All major dams are being monitored but Kiambere has a meter remaining to overflow,” Omollo said in a statement, referring to the Kiambere Hydroelectric Power Station in Tana River. “We call on those downstream to move to higher ground even as government enhances power generation to mitigate the challenge.”

Kenyan President William Ruto chaired an emergency Cabinet meeting Monday on the disaster and has pledged to designate millions of dollars to affected areas.

The heavy rainfall is expected to continue until at least January 2024, according to the Kenya Meteorological Department forecast.

Kenya, along with its neighbors in the Horn of Africa, have been on the forefront of the climate crisis, which has placed 57 million people — nearly half of which are children — into acute food insecurity or worse in 12 countries vulnerable to climate change, according to Save the Children.

Some Information in this report came from Reuters and Agence France Presse.

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