As of Monday, April 23, flooding in Kenya has left at least 15 people dead and thousands displaced in several parts of the country. Flood-related casualties have recently been reported in the counties of Tana River, Nakuru, Machakos, Migori, Nyandarua, and Embu; damages to property and roads have been reported across the country, as well as associated road transportation disruptions. Flooding obstructed the Nairobi-Mombasa highway near Sultan Hamud (Makueni county) for around three hours on Sunday, April 22.
The flooding has also displaced over 20,000 people across Kenya, notably including at least 10,000 people in Turkana county. According to the Kenyan Red Cross, about 4000 homes - equating to roughly 24,000 people - have been affected by the flooding in the country; flooding in the Tana Delta has raised concerns of looming famine, as thousands of acres of farmland have been flooded, destroying crops. Additional rainfall is expected in several parts of the country through Wednesday, April 25, which may result in further flooding and associated casualties, material damages, and transportation disruptions. A comprehensive weather forecast is available from the Kenya Meteorological Department here.
Kenya typically experiences a rainy season beginning in late April and lasting until early June. The rains arrived early this year (in March); meteorologists believe that this is the result of the Madden-Julian Oscillation, an eastward-moving low-pressure system that carries clouds and rain around tropical regions over a 30- to 60-day period.
Individuals present in affected areas are advised to keep abreast of the situation, avoid areas directly hit by flooding, and adhere to any orders issued by the local authorities (e.g. evacuation orders). Remember that driving or walking through running water can be dangerous - 15 cm (6 in) of running water is enough to knock over an adult - and that floodwater may contain wastewater or chemical products; all items having come into contact with the water should be disinfected and all foodstuffs discarded. Be aware that the risk of contracting water- and mosquito-borne diseases, including malaria, chikungunya, dengue fever, yellow fever, and the Zika virus, tends to rise after periods of heavy rains.
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