Torrential floods in Kenya leave 194 people dead, dams overflow

“The floods and landslides have been concentrated in western Kenya and have so far killed 194 people” Eugene Wamalwa, the minister in charge of relations between the regional leadership and the national government, said.

Almost 200 people have died with over 100,000 persons displaced, and critical infrastructure strained as floods and landslides hit the East African nation of Kenya.

Kenyan officials on Wednesday said the unprecedented high water levels at two dams have forced the evacuation of villagers at risk.

Energy Minister, Charles Keter said the water levels at two major Kenyan dams were very high and unprecedented, a report said.

The two dams, Masinga and Turkwel, have a combined installed electricity generation capacity of 140 MW, representing about 6% of Kenya’s total installed capacity.

As Masinga also feeds into several other dams, officials advised people living near those downstream reservoirs to evacuate.

“We are telling people who are downstream, Garissa all the way to Tana River – things are worsening,” Keter said about residents of the two eastern counties.

“The floods and landslides have been concentrated in western Kenya and have so far killed 194 people” Eugene Wamalwa, the minister in charge of relations between the regional leadership and the national government said.

“Yesterday alone, we lost 30 people in a matter of 24 hours,” Wamalwa added.

Government spokesman, Cyrus Oguna posted on Twitter that “over the past three weeks, floods had displaced 100,000 people — complicating efforts to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed 24 people in the country”.

“The floods have destroyed 8,000 acres of rice fields, the infrastructure to deliver water has been washed away … pipelines have been clogged,” the cabinet secretary for water and irrigation, Sicily Kariuki said, while asking residents of several cities including the capital of Nairobi to use their water in a “rational” manner.

The Kenya Meteorological Department in its most recent forecast predicts that heavy rains, which accelerated in mid-April, are expected to continue in already hard-hit areas in the coming weeks. The month of May usually marks the end of the rainy season.

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