Deadly Dam Burst in Kenya Amidst Devastating Floods

About 50 individuals have lost their lives in Kenya after a dam overflowed its banks following intense rainfall and flooding, as reported by a Red Cross official.

In villages close to Mai Mahiu, approximately 60km (37 miles) from Nairobi, residents were swept away in their sleep by the deluge. Rescue operations are underway to extricate people from the mud, with concerns mounting over the potential rise in casualties.

The disaster raises the total death toll over the March-May wet season in Kenya to more than 120 as heavier than usual rainfall pounds East Africa, compounded by the El Nino weather pattern. (Photo by LUIS TATO / AFP)

The past month has witnessed more than 100 fatalities due to floods wreaking havoc in various parts of Kenya. The catastrophe unfolded when a burst dam upriver in the Mai Mahiu area unleashed a torrent of water, awakening locals to the harrowing sound in the early hours of Monday.

Residents recounted a night of frantic endeavors to rescue those trapped in the raging floodwaters and free them from the clinging mud.

Residents are seen after heavy rains as they try to evacuate the area with their important belongings in Nairobi, Kenya on April 26, 2024. (Photo by Gerald Anderson/Anadolu via Getty Images)

The Kenya Red Cross has mobilized search and rescue missions, with emergency response manager Anthony Muchiri describing the situation as the most severe he has encountered in his career. Homes and their foundations were not only swept away, but lives were also tragically lost.

Among the recovered bodies, 17 were children, according to police commander Stephen Kirui.

The villages of Kamuchiri and Kianugu bore the brunt of the disaster. Witnesses described the rapid onslaught of water from the Old Kijabe Dam, washing away numerous residences and vehicles, and leaving devastation unprecedented in the area.

Residents are seen in a flooded street of Mathare neighborhood after heavy rains as they try to evacuate the area with their important belongings in Nairobi, Kenya on April 25, 2024. (Photo by Gerald Anderson/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Residents like Peter Muhoho shared accounts of neighbors being swept away, recounting the tragic loss of lives and possessions amidst the chaos.

The aftermath left many displaced, uncertain of where they would find shelter for the night, while others attempted to salvage what little they could from the mud-soaked ruins of their homes.

At least 45 people died when a dam burst its banks near a town in Kenya’s Rift Valley, police said on April 29, 2024. (Photo by LUIS TATO / AFP)

With forecasts predicting further rainfall, the government has postponed the reopening of schools across Kenya, as more than 130,000 individuals remain displaced, seeking refuge in schools.

Neighboring Tanzania and Burundi have also been pummeled by heavy rains, resulting in significant casualties and displacement.

The convergence of a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and El Niño weather patterns has exacerbated the situation, leading to extreme rainfall in East Africa, reminiscent of historical flooding disasters in the region.

Arit Saha
Arit Saha
Arit Saha, an Economics graduate and budding content writer in Kolkata, deftly merges his passions for economics and global politics. He crafts engaging content weaving economic insights into geopolitical narratives. Contact: [email protected]
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