Death toll from Kenya's El Nino floods jumps to 120

  • World
  • Wednesday, 29 Nov 2023

FILE PHOTO: People hold on to plants as they wade through flood waters after they were displaced following heavy rains in Garsen, Tana Delta within Tana River county, Kenya November 23, 2023. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/File Photo

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Severe flooding caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon has killed 120 people in Kenya, while people in almost 90,000 households have been forced to leave their homes, the government said on Tuesday.

The latest estimated death toll in Kenya has doubled as heavy seasonal rains following the worst drought in four decades have submerged towns and villages across East Africa, rendering hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

Thousands of homes have been washed away or are marooned, while farmland has been submerged and tens of thousands of livestock drowned, aid agencies said. In neighbouring Somalia floods have killed at least 96 people and displaced 700,000, a disaster management official said.

Four counties in eastern Kenya - Tana River, Garissa, Wajir and Mandera - are most severely affected, interior minister Raymond Omollo said.

"All major dams are being monitored but Kiambere has a meter remaining to overflow," Omollo said in a statement, referring to the Kiambere Hydroelectric Power Station in Tana River.

"We call on those downstream to move to higher ground even as government enhances power generation to mitigate the challenge."

The Kenya Meteorological Department forecast that heavy rainfall will continue until January 2024.

Climate change is causing more intense and more frequent extreme weather events, according to scientists. In response, African leaders have proposed new global taxes and changes to international financial institutions to help fund climate change action.

(Reporting by Humphrey Malalo; Writing by Hereward Holland; editing by Grant McCool)

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