Parts of Kenya have been experiencing heavy rain over the last few days, resulting in at least 5 more deaths and leaving thousands displaced.
Kenya Red Cross (KRCS) reported on 10 November 2015 that heavy rain had been seen across much of the country, in particular in the counties of Busia, Homa Bay, Nandi, Kisumu, Nakuru, Bomet, Nyandarua, Turkana, Kericho, Nairobi and Narok.
Lighter rainfall was reported over the last few days in Malindi, Nyeri, Baringo, Mombasa, Samburu, Wajir and Garissa Counties. However, severe flooding has been reported in Garissa after the River Tana overflowed.
Five flood-related deaths have been reported over the last 3 days, making a total of 8 fatalities this month.
Three of the recent deaths occurred in a landslide after heavy rain in Bungoma County. Kenya Red Cross have been evacuating families in the area.
Two other deaths occurred in Homa Bay County when victims in separate incidents were swept away by flood water.
Earlier this month, at least three people died when flash floods hit Talek on 02 November 2015 in Narok county.
Overflowing Rivers and Evacuations
Flooding has been particularly severe in areas near to the River Tana in Garissa. The river has overflowed and more than 1,000 families have been displaced.
Kenya Red Cross also report that the River Thanantu burst its banks causing flooding in Gatunga, Tharaka Nithi county, area affecting around 50 families.
Nairobi County government officials have advised Nairobi residents to move from flood prone areas to higher grounds.
KRCS are carrying our search and rescue efforts in Mount Elgon, Syokimau and Homa Bay. In Garissa they are continuing with the evacuation of casualties to hospital, carrying out assessments and distribution of non-food relief items.
Rainfall in Kenya
According to WMO figures, 74.1 mm of rain fell in Embu in a 24 hour period between 10 and 11 November. Earlier, 60 mm of rain was recorded in the city of Mombasa in a 24 hour period between 04 and 05 November 2015.
The latest forecast from Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) indicates that rainfall intensities are expected to increase over several parts of the country especially over the next 5 days.
El Niño Rains
A recent report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), says that the government of Kenya “ estimates that 2.5 million children may be affected by floods, landslides, mudslides and diseases linked to the El Niño rains.”
The report, called “A Wake Up Call: El Niño’s Impact on Children” goes on to say that:
“Drought, food insecurity and potential floods will also put further strain on food and health supplies for displaced people and host communities, including 1.3 million refugees in Ethiopia and Kenya and 1.1 million internally displaced people in Somalia”.
IGAD Climate Prediction & Applications Centre (ICPAC), recently published the graphic below, showing the different ways eastern Africa has been affected by El Niño over the last few years.
In their El Niño Climate Impact update of 02 November 2015, IGAD say:
“During the October to December rainfall season significant rainfall is expected over the equatorial sector and southern parts of the northern sector, of the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA), in line with the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) conditions. The current rainfall season is expected to be highly influenced by the El-Nino phenomenon which is usually associated with enhanced rainfall within the equatorial during the October – December period”.