Kenya’s Ruto convenes cabinet meeting over deadly floodsTue, 30 Apr 2024 10:00:36 GMT

Kenyan President William Ruto convened a special cabinet meeting on Tuesday to discuss measures to tackle deadly floods that have killed nearly 170 people and displaced 185,000 others since March, his office said.Heavier than usual monsoon rains, compounded by the El Nino weather pattern, have devastated the East African country, engulfing villages and threatening to unleash even more damage in the weeks to come.In the worst single incident that killed nearly 50 villagers, a makeshift dam burst in the Rift Valley before dawn Monday, sending torrents of water and mud gushing down a hill and swallowing everything in its path.The tragedy was the deadliest episode in the country since the start of the rainy season.So far, 169 people have died in flood-related disasters, according to government data.The cabinet will “discuss additional measures” to address the crisis, Ruto said Monday on the sidelines of a summit of African leaders and the World Bank in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.”My government is going to… make sure that citizens who are victims of climate change, who today are suffering floods, they are suffering mudslides, are looked after,” he said.The Rift Valley deluge cut off a road, uprooted trees, washed away homes and vehicles, devastating the village of Kamuchiri in Nakuru county.Forty-seven people were killed, Nakuru County health minister Jacqueline Osoro told AFP on Tuesday.”This morning we lost one person who was in the HDU (high dependency unit), so we’ve moved at 47 deaths,” she said, fearing the toll could increase as 76 people were reported missing.Nakuru governor Susan Kihika said 110 people were being treated in hospital.- ‘Caught unprepared’ -Opposition politicians and lobby groups have accused the government of being unprepared and slow to react despite weather warnings, demanding that it declare a national disaster.Kenya’s main opposition leader Raila Odinga said Tuesday the authorities had failed to make “advance contingency plans” for the extreme weather.”The government has been talking big on climate change, yet when the menace comes in full force, we have been caught unprepared,” he said.”We have therefore been reduced to planning, searching and rescuing at the same time.”The international community, including African Union chief Moussa Faki Mahamat, have sent condolences and vowed solidarity with the affected families.The weather has also left a trail of destruction in neighbouring Tanzania, where at least 155 people have been killed in flooding and landslides.In Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, flooding claimed the lives of four people on Monday, according to the Fire and Disaster Risk Management Commission.