The Kenyan government and humanitarian agencies have ramped up humanitarian aid as downpours have claimed 71 lives across the east African nation.
According to the Kenya Red Cross Society, at least 71 people have died, over 200 injured and more than 150,000 others displaced across the country as heavy rains continue to cause havoc.
“Humanitarian partners are working with the government to respond to the floods and have so far reached some 950,000 people with food assistance in affected counties,” the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its latest Flash Update on Wednesday.
The UN agency said the third and fourth weeks of October marked the beginning of the heavy rains, the peak of which is expected from October-December as the El Nino and Positive Indian Ocean Dipole events progress in the region.
The Kenya Meteorological Department said heavy storms caused flooding along the coastal strip, in some areas of the central highlands, southeast lowlands, and several areas of northwest and northeastern Kenya.
It said rainfall intensified in these areas and spread to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, and the western regions of the country, in the first two weeks of November.
The areas most affected to date have been in the northeast, Garissa, Mandera and Wajir in particular.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has stressed the severity of the situation and the impact of the ongoing El Nino rains across more than half of Kenya’s 47 counties, saying the government will intensify its collaboration with humanitarian partners and counties to address the flooding.
The floods are the latest in a series of extreme weather events in recent years to hit Kenya and the Horn of Africa, where children and communities find themselves at the sharp end of the global climate crisis.
The other countries that are bearing the brunt of climate change effects are Somalia and Ethiopia, which are also experiencing floods.
The El Nino weather phenomenon, which has brought unusually heavy rains, thunderstorms and extreme floods, comes after the worst drought in 40 years following five failed rainy seasons that has decimated livestock and crops, pushing the region to the brink of famine.