At least 15 people have died in Kenya in floods caused by the torrential rains that have hit East Africa, cutting off roads, washing away dozens of houses and killing livestock, the Kenyan Red Cross announced on Monday.
"As of yesterday (Sunday), 15,264 households have been affected, with 15 reported casualties and at least 1,067 livestock deaths", wrote the Kenyan Red Cross on X (formerly Twitter).
The rainy season from October to December in the Horn of Africa is being amplified this year by El Niño, a meteorological phenomenon generally associated with rising temperatures, droughts in some parts of the world and heavy rains in others.
Flooding has left around twenty people dead and 12,000 displaced in the Somali region of eastern Ethiopia, the local government announced on Saturday.
In neighbouring Somalia, 14 people have died and almost 114,000 have been displaced since the start of the rainy season, according to the UN humanitarian agency (Ocha).
In Kenya, the heavy rains have hit the particularly arid north in particular.
Images broadcast by the local media showed torrents of water running through villages, forcing residents to flee to higher ground.
Another video also showed a civilian helicopter rescuing passengers from the roof of a truck caught in the floodwaters in Samburu county, around 300 kilometres north of the capital Nairobi.
Kenya's meteorological service warned last week that the heavy rains "are likely to be accompanied by gusty winds", which "could tear off roofs, uproot trees and cause structural damage".The Horn of Africa is one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change, and extreme weather events are occurring with increasing frequency and intensity.
Since late 2020, Somalia and parts of Ethiopia and Kenya have been hit by the worst drought in the region in 40 years. By the end of 2019, at least 265 people had died and tens of thousands more were displaced during two months of incessant rain in several East African countries (Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda).