On Tuesday, 3 December 2019, the Kenyan government confirmed that 132 people have died so far and 17 000 displaced, following unprecedented heavy rains for the past three months.
The floods and mudslides have caused loss of lives, injuries, displacements, destruction of livelihoods and property, and generally disrupted peoples’ lives.
Addressing the media in Nairobi, government spokesperson, Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna, said that approximately 17 000 people have been displaced and an undetermined number of people have been marooned by the floods.
Over 72 people lost their lives after a landslide buried their houses in West Pokot County in northwestern Kenya, over two weeks ago.
He pointed out that over 11 000 livestock have been swept away and undetermined acreage of farmlands have been submerged, while crops of unknown value have been damaged.
According to Oguna, ten counties have borne the brunt of the floods and mudslides.
“As government, we deeply regret the continued loss of lives and property and express heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the affected families, especially those who have lost their loved ones,” he said.
“We are providing the necessary relief assistance to help restore livelihoods of all those affected as we continue to monitor the situation. We are issuing an advisory that those living in the high-risk areas such as Lake Victoria Basin, Lower Tana Delta, Coastal and Central regions to move to safer areas. There are designated camps in all Counties to move to,” he added.
Already, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, has announced a three-million-dollar contribution from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to assist people affected by severe floods, mudslides and landslides in Kenya.
The Kenya Meteorological Department has attributed the heavy rainfall to an unusual warming of the Indian Ocean in a phenomenon known as the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which occurs about every ten years, unleashing destructive rains and flooding across East Africa.
Weather forecast has indicated that the current rains are not expected to cease until the end of December 2019.