Kenya – 3 Months of Flooding Leaves 112 Dead and Over 100,000 Displaced

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) reported in a statement on 04 January 2016 that heavy rains and floods in Kenya during the last 3 months have left 112 dead and displaced over 100,000.

The ongoing rains have led to a host of problems, including floods caused by rivers bursting their banks in Garissa, Tana River, Migori, Busia and Homa Bay.

Narok experienced deadly flash floods and landslides in November 2015, while further landslides as a result of heavy downpours were reported in Mt. Elgon, Kisii and West Pokot. IFRC also report that the rain resulted in numerous serious road traffic accidents in Turkana, Homa Bay, and Nairobi, and lightning strikes in Kisii.

Since the onset of the October – November – December (OND) rainy season, known as the “Short Rains”, a total of 240,726 have been affected and 103,524 people displaced, according to the report.

Wide areas of farmland has been damaged in Mt. Elgon, Kirinyaga, Narok, Busia, Kisumu, Tana River, Trans Nzoia, Busia, and Bungoma counties. Infrastructural damage, including roads and bridges, has also been reported in parts of Tana River, Marsabit, Isiolo, Mandera, Wajir, Nandi and Machakos counties.

El Niño

IFRC say that the rains have been driven by the El Niño conditions in the Pacific Ocean, and their distribution closely matches the El Niño forecasts that had been given by Kenya Meteorological Services (KMS) and by the IGAD Climate Predictions and Application Centre, in the second and third quarters of 2015.

Further Flooding Expected

It is thought that flooding will continue into early January in Western Kenya while levels of the Nyando and Nzoia remain high.

Flooding is also likely in the counties of Garissa, Tana River and Kilifi after heavy downpours in the Mount Kenya Region, which forms the catchment zone for the River Tana.

According to KMS, the Short Rains seasonal rainfall may extend further into January in the southern, central and south-western Counties.

Oldonyiro in isiolo, after heavy rain in December 2015. Photo: Kenya Red Cross
Oldonyiro in Isiolo, after heavy rain in December 2015. Photo: Kenya Red Cross