Kenya: Floods - Final Report Appeal n° MDRKE045



Description of the disaster

October – November – December 2020 Rains Season

Heavy rains were experienced in many parts of the country following onset of the October-November-December (O-N-D) 2019. The enhanced OND 2019 rains resulted into widespread flooding affecting 29 counties in Kenya: Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River and Taita Taveta of the Coastal region, Garissa, Wajir and Mandera of North Eastern Kenya and Marsabit, Isiolo and Samburu of the Upper Eastern part of the country. Other counties include Meru, Kirinyaga and Murang’a of the Mount Kenya area while Eastern part counties had Kitui, Kajiado, Machakos and Makueni being affected. The flooding did not spare Turkana, West Pokot, Trans Nzoia, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi, Narok, Kakamega, Bungoma, Siaya, Kisumu and Homa Bay either and response operations were sustained in all the counties mentioned by the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) response operation. The heaviest day’s rainfall amount received was for 22 November 2019 which had the greatest flooding impact in the country with areas hardly hit being Northern parts, Western, Central and Coastal regions.

A total of 41,417HHs (233,339 people) were affected during the October, November, December 2019 rains season which continued into January and February 2020. In addition, 11,135HHs were displaced, 26,636 livestock deaths and 5051.5 acres of farmland destroyed. A total of 25 fatalities were recorded with KRCS as a result of the O-N-D rains.

March – April – May 2020 Rains Season

Following onset of the March – April – May 2020 rains season in March 2020, most parts of the country received more rainfall as indicated in green bars in Figure 1, which is compared with the rainfall amounts normally received as per the Long-Term Mam (LTM) as indicated in the orange bars. As observed in the figure most parts of the county received rains in the first week with a significant spike in rainfall amounts experienced from the third and fourth weeks of March 2020. In parts of Western Kenya as it were in many other parts in Kenya, rainfall continued from the O-N-D 2019 season with a short break in February and then getting into the pick of M-A-M in March 2020.

Further, April 2020 was also marked with increased rainfall amounts starting from the third week with heavy rainfall reported over most parts of the country in the week of 19th to 25th April (Figure 2). This resulted in widespread flooding and landslides in Central, South Eastern, Western and Northeastern regions where over 150mm (Figure 2, purple shaded areas) of rainfall were recorded.

The worst incident occurred on 18 April 2020, when heavy rains resulted in landslides in West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet counties, leaving 19 people dead, several missing persons and extensive damage to shelter, infrastructure and livelihoods assets.

As of 17th June 2020, KRCS had registered at least 42,064 HHs (252,384 people) displaced in 35 counties in Kenya. The society also identified 79 camps country wide where the displaced persons are staying with majority of them being in Nyanza and Western Kenya – Kisumu, Busia, Homabay and Migori – (51 camps) and Coast – mainly Tana River county with 20 camps.

During the M-A-M rains, at least 94 loss of lives were recorded by KRCS. In addition to the widespread impact on lives lost and destruction of critical livelihood support assets and shelter, communication, and transportation between Kitale – Lodwar was significantly impacted negatively with the washing away of the Murun Bridge and dozens of community members and commuters were cut off from the rest of the world.

Similarly, Garissa and Tana River Counties were affected in many parts as well following the bursting of banks of River Tana. This resulted into 15 people being marooned at Hadama location in Tana North Sub-county and KRCS response team registered 624 Households (HHs) cases of displacements and supported them with relief supplies.

The season also resulted in increased inflows which resulted in critical rise in water levels in Turkwel Dam which achieved the highest levels since the dam was constructed in early 1990s. At the peak of the surge in water levels in November 2020, water levels rose to 1,148.38 meters above sea level, leaving only 1.64 meters to spillage. The IFRC launched a Preparedness DREF to support KRCS roll out preparedness actions ahead of possible spillage. The operation ended when the trigger wasn’t achieved due to a reduction in rainfall amounts as a result of the cessation of the O-N-D 2020 rains in Kenya.

A surge in lake water levels in many rift valley lakes in Kenya, as well as in Lake Victoria, has also resulted in displacement of families along the shores of the lakes. Displaced families continue to camp in informal settlements on the shores of the lakes as their farms and homes have been marooned by rising water levels.

March – April – May (MAM) 2021 Forecast

On 18 February 2020, KMD issued the seasonal forecast for March-April-May 2021 rains season. The indicates a likelihood of above average rainfall in most parts of the country during the month of May 2020, including parts of Western, Nyanza, Central and Rift valley in Kenya. There is therefore a continued risk of flooding and landslides, resulting in renewed displacements of communities in flood-prone areas.