INDIAN NINO : THE CAUSE OF FLOODS IN KENYA

0
41

The Country has been experiencing Heavy rains for the last few days which has led to flooding in over 24 counties, Nairobi being worst hit as roads have been turned into rivers with major highways like Thika Road and Mombasa Road being submerged in water causing heavy traffic Jam.

East Africa is currently experiencing Indian Nino, a weather phenomenon caused by the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). This weather pattern occurs when there is a difference in sea-surface temperatures in the opposite parts of the Indian Ocean.

When the waters of the western Indian Ocean are warmer than usual (positive phase) it causes heavier rains regardless of El Nino. When Indian Ocean Dipole occurs at the same time, it brings about extreme severe rains. The last time Kenya experienced this phenomenon was in 1997 and 1998 and it caused severe floods which led to 6,000 deaths across the East African region.

African temperatures in recent decades have been warming at a rate comparable to that of most other continents. Over the last thirty years climate change has become one of the planets major concerns, it is a global phenomenon that necessarily affects Africa. The last four reports of the Intergovernmental Climate Change (IPCC) predict catastrophic scenarios in the next 50 years if nothing is done. This situation could be, if it is not already, particularly worse for the African Continent.

The evidence of Climate change in East Africa had been manifested through extreme Droughts that killed thousand of animals and human beings, led to crop destruction and food shortages across 20 counties in Kenya in the beginning of 2022. Just recently, the country was experiencing very high temperatures of up to 39 degrees Celsius in North Western. At the same time, Nairobi was experiencing long wave radiation which caused excess heat during the night.

The president on 24th of April 2024, directed the formation of a multi-agency response team to deal with raging floods in the country.

The president said, ‘’ I direct the ministries of Interior and EAC, Arid and Seni-Arid Lands and regional Development, and the National Youth Service to immediately respond to the situation caused by the floods. They will immediately step-up multi-agency response efforts.’’

The opposition leader Mr. Raila Odinga wants the government to declare the ongoing floods a National disaster saying, ‘’It is our agent appeal that the President and the government hereby declare the floods a national disaster and immediately activate all emergency mechanisms, including military disaster response teams.’’

At the moment approximately 300 people have lost their lives to floods due to the ongoing heavy rains, hundreds of residents in Nairobi have been trapped in their homes. Residents of Mathare have been forced to sleep on the roofs of their houses as their homes have been filled with water.

Over 70,000 households have been affected by floods, 9,000 livestock have been lost and the destruction of property and infrastructure caused by this extreme weather pattern is unmeasurable.

750 households have been displaced in Western Kenya due to heavy rains. Villages in Kisii, Kisumu and Homa Bay have been submerged after River Yala in Khwisero Sub-County burst its banks.

Water levels have surged in rivers Nzoia, Malakisi, Lusumu, and Lwakhakha, threatening to displace more people in Budalangi, including families that are residing in Budalangi camp, after being displaced by floods in 2020.

Flash floods have submerged three wards in Bunyala Sub-County, destroying roads, footbridges and farms. County officials are warning that the floods which are now ravaging crops are posing a significant threat to food security and a humanitarian crisis.

More villages in Yongo, Opuch and Bonde are under threat of being submerged after Yongo Dam in Suba Sub-County breached its banks.

In Uriri and Nyatiki constituencies, Migori county, nine people lost their lives after drowning in the floods including a fisherman whose boat capsized due to heavy rains and wind.

In South Mugirango, Kisii County, more than 60 families have been displaced after their houses developed cracks due to heavy rains. The villagers were forced to seek refuge in a nearby primary school as they waited for assistance from both the County and National government.

County officials are advising residents living along major rivers to relocate to safer places and exercise extra caution to prevent disasters as they prepare for mitigation measures.

The 7-forks dams are full and overflowing with the risk of causing floods and making roads impassible in Garissa, Tana River and Lamu Counties. All the Seven-forks hydro-electric dams remain full and overflowing into downstream areas, causing displacements, damaging homes, and major roads.

The Seven-forks hydro-electric dams are situated along the lower part of the Tana River basin, which is among the areas worst-affected by riverine flooding. In Garissa County, an estimated 6,400 families (32,000 people) have been displaced due to the overflow of Tana River. The displaced are currently hosted in the 12 camps established by the KRCS.

Fishing at River Takwel Dam in Turkana had been suspended due to increase in water levels caused by the floods. Beach activities like swimming, fishing have been suspended as well due to Cyclone Hidaya warnings at the coastal regional by the Kenya Meteorological department.

 

 

ASK QUESTION/LEAVE COMMENT

NO COMMENTS