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Faith Nyasuguta

More than 40 individuals tragically lost their lives in Kenya following the bursting of a dam, further escalating the death toll from relentless floods to over 120 casualties. The devastating incident occurred in the Mai Mahiu area, compounding the already dire situation caused by flash floods.

Authorities on the ground confirmed the retrieval of 42 bodies, including 17 minors, in the aftermath of the dam breach in the Kijabe area. Search and rescue operations are underway amidst challenging conditions as teams strive to locate any remaining survivors.

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The relentless rains have pushed hydroelectric dams to their limits, raising concerns of potential overflow and widespread devastation downstream, as emphasized by a government spokesperson.

Earlier reports from the Kenya Red Cross highlighted the evacuation of numerous individuals to healthcare facilities due to flash flooding in the region, highlighting the urgency of the situation.

Kenyan authorities find themselves grappling with the chaos induced by the calamitous weather conditions. The persistent heavy rains, exacerbated by the El Nino weather pattern, have unleashed havoc across East Africa in recent weeks.

Official figures released over the weekend painted a grim picture, with 76 reported fatalities and over 131,000 individuals displaced. Infrastructure, including roads and bridges, has borne the brunt of the floods, further complicating relief efforts.

The Kenya Red Cross consistently updates on fatalities across the nation, particularly near major water bodies like Lake Victoria and the Tana River.

Despite flooding disrupting the underpass at Nairobi’s international airport, flight operations remain unaffected, according to the Kenya Airports Authority.

In response to the crisis, the government has made the difficult decision to postpone the commencement of the new school term by a week. The Ministry of Education cited the severe impact of the rains on school infrastructure and the need for robust safety measures before resuming classes.

The Kenya Meteorological Department had earlier issued warnings of ongoing and anticipated heavy rainfall across various parts of the country until May, emphasizing the prolonged nature of the weather event.

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Beyond Kenya’s borders, neighboring countries are grappling with similar challenges. In Burundi, nearly 100,000 individuals have been displaced, while Tanzania has reported at least 58 fatalities and widespread displacement.

The catastrophic floods sweeping through East Africa are emblematic of the intensified and more frequent extreme weather events attributed to climate change, according to scientists. 

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As the region contends with the aftermath of record-breaking floods, the urgent need for resilience-building and climate adaptation measures becomes increasingly apparent.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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