, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 1 – The Kenya Meteorological Services has warned of heavy rains and flooding in the months of October, November and December due to El Nino.
Kenya Meteorological Services (KMS) Deputy Director Peter Ambenje on Tuesday said it was however still too early to tell whether it would be the worst experienced in 40 years.
“El Nino means the Christ boy and therefore it will be in full maturity in December when Christ was born,” he explained.
The worst El Nino flooding Kenya has ever experienced was in 1997.
The rains, it has been projected, are also likely to extend into the month of January.
The meteorological department has therefore called on those living in low lying areas to move to higher ground and cautioned that mud slides are also a risk.
The Ministry of Interior through the National Disaster Operations Centre has also called on the County Government of Nairobi to ensure drainage systems are unclogged and a rapid response team is put in place to deal with cases of obstruction.
“When we’ve had heavy rains we’ve experienced fallen trees, electricity poles and even bill boards. We need to have a team in place to deal quickly with the safety and traffic concerns this raises,” NDOC Director Nathan Kigotho said at the release of the weather projections.
During the April, May and June long rains, serious flooding was experience in Nairobi, Narok, Mandera counties and in the Western and Nyanza region; dozens died, property worth millions was destroyed and night-long traffic snarl-ups were experienced in the Kenyan capital.
Unsanctioned construction on waterways and the littering of plastic bags which block drainage systems have been identified as the man-made causes of flooding.
The meteorological services has also cautioned the public to stay away from windows in case of lightning strikes and not to seek shelter under trees. “It may sound simple but during the long rains we lost many children to lightning strikes,” Ambenje said.
Kigotho has also cautioned against trying to cross flooded rivers. “You might think you know where the bridge is but don’t risk it.”
During the long rains, Ghana also experienced flooding and more than 150 people who were seeking shelter from the rain at a petrol station died when it caught fire.