May 19, 2024

Brighton Journal

Complete News World

Kenya floods: Mass evacuation orders ahead of the cyclone

Kenya floods: Mass evacuation orders ahead of the cyclone
Comment on the photo, Residents of areas where flooding is expected to occur have been ordered to evacuate by Friday evening

  • author, Alex Phillips
  • Role, BBC News

The Kenyan government has ordered people living near 178 dams and reservoirs to evacuate as heavy rains continue.

The Ministry of Interior warned that the water bodies “are full or about to be full and may leak at any time, posing a great danger to the people living in their neighborhood.”

Residents living nearby – as well as those living within the 30-meter (98-foot) wetland corridor on the Nairobi River – were given 24 hours from 18:30 local time on Thursday to leave.

Recent heavy rains have caused severe flooding and landslides across Kenya and Tanzania.

About 188 people have died in Kenya since last March, while 90 others are considered missing, according to the latest official estimates. Another 155 people died in Tanzania.

Officials expect the situation to worsen in the coming days with the arrival of more extreme weather.

Kenyan President William Ruto's office said, “The coastal region is likely to witness Cyclone Hidaya, which will bring heavy rains, strong waves, and strong winds that may affect marine activities in the Indian Ocean.”

The Kenya Meteorological Department said Nairobi was expected to be among the areas worst affected by the storm.

The Interior Ministry said the situation “could become dire as the soil across the country is completely saturated” with water.

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Flooding is expected to worsen as the hurricane dumps heavy rains on already saturated soil

The ministry added that it had established temporary shelters and provided food and basic supplies to the evacuees, and they would be placed at assembly points.

Evacuations included areas near Nairobi Dam and Titanic Dam. The Ministry of Interior said the buildings within the wetland area on the Nairobi River would be removed.

It is unclear how many people will be affected by the evacuation order.

The Kenyan government has faced criticism over the speed of its response to the ongoing natural disaster.

Ruto defended his administration, telling the BBC on Monday that the “whole of government approach is being implemented.”

After a cabinet meeting on Thursday, Ruto's office said flood victims were “increasingly receiving food aid and non-food items” and attributed the extreme weather to climate change.

“[The] The Council of Ministers decided that the government, from now on, will mobilize the country in implementing measures, programs and policies that will mitigate the effects of climate change.”

One of the biggest drivers of rainfall is the Indian Ocean Dipole – opposing areas of warm and cold surface waters often referred to as “Indian El Niño” because of its similarity to El Niño in the Pacific Ocean.

Warmer surface temperatures caused by climate change push more moisture and energy into the atmosphere, making weather patterns more erratic and extreme.