MANDERA—Heavy rains and flooding ravaged parts of Kenya on Friday, sweeping away homes and livestock and destroying roads and electric transmission lines, authorities said.
At least three people died in Elwak, Mandera County on Friday following a night-long torrential rainfall that caused unprecedented gushing floods. Area medics told Kulan Post that one of the victims who died in the floods “was a candidate who sat for the recently concluded KCPE exams.”
In Wajir, a video widely shared across social media showed a lifeless boy being pulled from a water-filled dam. Kulan Post could not independently verify the authenticity of the location and period it was recorded.
From the waterlogged town of Elwak, the local administration appealed for help from the national government.
“We need further assistance. This is a disaster beyond our control,” Fatuma Mohamed, the county Chief Officer for Special Programs, said on Friday when she visited the border town to assess the situation.
By Friday evening, two schools in the area—Alu-Weys Primary School and Elwak DEB Primary School— and two health facilities: Elwak Sub County Referral Hospital, and Adra Health Centre “were severely affected by the gushing rainwater and remain partly submerged,” a statement by the Mandera County’s Ministry of Health said in part. It further issued an alert, warning that “Elwak sub-county, which bore the brunt of the catastrophe, is at risk of a waterborne epidemic.”
Over 5,000 households were impacted, with an unknown number of livestock swept away by the floods.
“Flooding in Elwak town has brought about distressing consequences to the residents of the area [Elwak] and its environs including Borehole 11, Kotulo and Wargadud town,” Abdi Hassan, the manager of Elwak Municipality, said on Friday.
He added that “the recurring floods have caused immense hardship on the residents, inflicting damage to homes, displacing families, disrupting livelihoods, and affecting the local infrastructure besides potential outbreak of water and vector borne diseases.”
The Kenya Meteorological Department had earlier warned of above average rainfall until Monday.
“Flood waters may appear in places where it has not rained heavily especially downstream. Residents are advised to avoid driving through, or walking in moving water or open fields and not to shelter under trees and near grilled windows when raining to minimize exposure to lightning strikes,” read the alert.
Nationally, six people have been reported killed by the gushing floods. Besides the three victims in Elwak, one person died after a house collapsed in Kisauni area of Mombasa County on Thursday night, while the other two victims lost their lives in Kwale and Meru counties.
With a heavy heart, I express my condolences to the families affected by the tragic loss of 3 lives due to the floods in Elwak Town, Mandera Central Sub County. The County Government of Mandera is committed to supporting you during this difficult time. To over 5,000 people… pic.twitter.com/hN5TgHMt3G
— H.E Mohamed Adan Khalif (@MohamedAKhalif) November 3, 2023
Mandera County governor Mohamed Adan Khalif, while condoling with the berieved families, said: “the impact of these floods extends beyond Elwak Town, especially along the Dawa River and Lag Sure stream, where several areas are grappling with this crisis.”
“We urgently call upon our partners and stakeholders to join us in supporting the affected communities in these areas during this challenging period. Together, we can rebuild and overcome these difficulties,” Governor Khalif said on Friday evening.
The UN’s humanitarian agency, OCHA, said last month that eastern Africa would likely encounter heavier than normal rains over the October-December period because of the El-Nino phenomenon.
El Nino is a naturally occurring pattern associated with increased heat worldwide, as well as drought in some parts of the world and heavy rains elsewhere.
Amnesty International lauds Kulan Post for "holding those in power accountable." pic.twitter.com/qlT01jMZy5
— Kulan Post (@kulanpost) May 22, 2023