Torrential rains have triggered devastating floods and landslides across East Africa in recent weeks, aggravating an already challenging situation as countries in the region battle the coronavirus pandemic.
Floods and landslides in Kenya have killed nearly 200 people, displaced 100,000 and strained critical infrastructure, after the River Nzola burst its banks.
Although May usually marks the end of the rainy season, the Kenya Meteorological Department has forecast that heavy rains, which accelerated in mid-April, are expected to continue in the coming weeks.
In western Kenya, residents have had to carry their belongings away from their submerged houses using boats and motorbikes. The government is providing food and water to the displaced people and has also requested the Ministry of Health to provide them with masks as a precautionary measure.
Floods have destroyed 8,000 acres of rice fields. Kenya was already facing a looming rice shortage due to shipping disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
The heavy rains and landslides are threatening water shortages as well. The infrastructure used to deliver water has been washed away and pipelines have been clogged. Residents of several cities, including in the capital Nairobi, are being asked to use their water in a “rational” manner.