Floods kill at least 20 in Kenya’s Mai Mahiu area, schools shut

Residents sift through the rubble as they recover their belongings after the Nairobi river burst its banks and destroyed their homes within the Mathare Valley settlement in Nairobi, Kenya April 25. REUTERS/Monicah Mwangi

At least 20 people have been killed in floods in central Kenya’s Mai Mahiu area, Citizen Television reported on Monday, citing police.

Police told the television channel that the number of deaths could rise because of a dam that had burst. Earlier on Monday, the Kenya Red Cross said it had taken several people to a health facility in Mai Mahiu due to flash flooding.

The latest deaths bring the toll from heavy rains and flooding since last month to around 100. Government figures had showed 76 people had been killed and more than 131,000 displaced as of Saturday.

Dozens more have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced by intense downpours in other East African countries, including Tanzania and Burundi.

Kenya’s education ministry on Monday postponed the start of a new school term by one week.

“The devastating effects of the rains in some of the schools is so severe that it will be imprudent to risk the lives of learners and staff before watertight measures are put in place to ensure adequate safety of all affected school communities,” the education ministry said in a statement.

The floods have destroyed roads and bridges across Kenya.

A road underpass at the international airport in the capital Nairobi was flooded, but flights were running as usual, the Kenya Airports Authority said on Sunday.

Hydroelectric dams were filled to capacity, which could lead to massive downstream overflow, a government spokesperson said.

East Africa was hit by record floods during the last rainy season in late 2023. Scientists say climate change is causing more intense and frequent extreme weather events.


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