At least 45 people die in western Kenya as floodwaters sweep away houses and cars

Flash floods and landslides in Nairobi, Kenya kill 45, leave dozens missing, as heavy rains continue to wreak havoc

April 30, 2024 03:14 pm | Updated 03:14 pm IST - Nairobi

People try to clear the area after a dam burst, in Kamuchiri Village Mai Mahiu, Nakuru County, Kenya, Monday, April 29, 2024.

People try to clear the area after a dam burst, in Kamuchiri Village Mai Mahiu, Nakuru County, Kenya, Monday, April 29, 2024. | Photo Credit: AP

Flash floods and a landslide swept through houses and cut off a major road in Kenya, killing at least 45 people and leaving dozens missing on April 29, the Interior Ministry said.

Police official Stephen Kirui initially told The Associated Press that the Old Kijabe Dam, located in the Mai Mahiu area of the Great Rift Valley region that is prone to flash floods, had collapsed, carrying with it mud, rocks and uprooted trees.

But in a statement late April 29, the Nakuru County said that the water mass that caused the flash floods was a clogged railway tunnel.

Vehicles were entangled in the debris on one of Kenya's busiest highways and paramedics treated the injured as waters submerged large areas.

People try to clear a bus that was washed away after the dam burst.

People try to clear a bus that was washed away after the dam burst. | Photo Credit: AP

The Kenya Red Cross said 109 people were hospitalized while 49 others were reported missing.

William Lokai told Citizen TV that he was woken up by a loud bang and shortly after, water filled his house. He escaped through the roof together with his brother and children.

Ongoing rains in Kenya have caused flooding that has killed at least 169 people since mid-March, and the country's Meteorology Department has warned of more rainfall.

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Kenya’s Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki ordered the inspection of all public and private dams and water reservoirs within 24 hours starting April 29 afternoon to avert future incidents. The ministry said recommendations for evacuations and resettlement would be done after the inspection.

The Kenya National Highways Authority issued an alert warning motorists to brace for heavy traffic and debris that blocked the roads around Naivasha and Narok, west of the capital, Nairobi.

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The wider East African region is experiencing flooding due to the heavy rains, and 155 people have reportedly died in Tanzania while more than 200,000 people affected in neighboring Burundi.

A boat capsized in Kenya's northern Garissa county on Sunday night, and the Kenyan Red Cross said it had rescued 23 people but more than a dozen people were still missing.

Kenya’s main airport was flooded on April 27, forcing some flights to be diverted, as videos of a flooded runway, terminals and cargo section were shared online.

More than 200,000 people across Kenya have been hit by the floods, with houses in flood-prone areas submerged and people seeking refuge in schools.

President William Ruto had instructed the National Youth Service to provide land for use as a temporary camp for those affected.

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