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Kenya floods: Nairobi residents grapple with aftermath

A woman sits on a couch outside her flooded house, after heavy rain in the Mathare slum of Nairobi, Kenya. 24/04/2024   -  
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Brian Inganga/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved


As rain continues to batter Kenya, residents in the capital Nairobi grappled on Wednesday with the aftermath of severe flooding, which killed at least four people in Mathare.

The deluge has claimed lives, inundated homes and caused extensive property damage, with many residents in the informal settlement of Mathare left without shelter or basic necessities.

Lack of shelter and basic necessities

"Homes have been swept away by floods and people have died," said local resident Cynthia Aoko, who found herself homeless.

In Mathare, four bodies were pulled from the water and hauled onto a police truck as residents and friends of victims wailed and mourned their loss.

Many houses have been marooned as Nairobi River broke its banks and residents were seen packing their belongings and moving out of the area.

Amidst the devastation, many residents lamented the government's absence during their hour of need.

"There are people who do not know where they will sleep today," said Vincent Onyango, a 33 year old father of two.

Regional devastation

Deadly floods are wreaking havoc in many parts of East Africa as the region faces torrential rainfall, with Burundi calling for international help to deal with the aftermath.

In Kenya, 35 people have died since mid-March in flooding events that have affected more than 100,000 people, according to the U.N., which cites Red Cross figures in the most recent update.

The Kenyan government agency in charge of roads on Monday warned Nairobi residents to avoid flooded highways, including one to the coastal city of Mombasa.

Those who live by the Nairobi river were urged to move to higher ground.

Flooding and mudslides have also been reported in western Kenya.

Climate phenomenon

The heavy rain across the region has been largely due to a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) combined with El Niño.

The phenomena can make wet outcomes more likely due to above-normal sea surface temperatures in the western Indian Ocean. The combination of IOD and El Niño create extreme weather conditions, as is being seen currently.

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