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Dozens Killed in Kenya as Heavy Rains Trigger Flooding, Mudslides


West Pokot county

At least 34 people were killed Saturday in Kenya due to heavy rains in East Africa that have triggered flooding and mudslides.

Interior Minister Fred Matiangi said mudslides claimed the lives of 29 people in the western Kenyan villages of Takmal, Parua and Tapach.

Five others were killed between the towns of Kitale and Lodwar when their car was swept away when two rivers overflowed their banks, West Pokot County Commissioner Apollo Okello said.

Twelve bodies recovered, and seven were children, Okello said. He added that another two children were pulled out alive and "rushed to the hospital."

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said he had deployed emergency personnel from various government agencies to prevent the “further loss of lives.”

Rescue efforts, however, have been hampered because roads have been transformed into rivers and bridges have been washed away.

Interior Minister Matiangi said the scope of the disaster remains unclear.

“While rescue and recovery efforts remain the priority, a full assessment into the extent of damage caused continues to be a challenge due to harsh weather conditions.”

More than 1 million people in East Africa have been adversely affected recently by higher-than-normal rainfall.

Torrential rains are uncommon in the region this time of year, but experts point to changing weather patterns — including an unusually powerful phenomenon in the Indian Ocean.

Saturday’s deaths raise to 72 the number of people who have died in Kenya due to flood-related issues in the last month-and-a-half.

Aid group said earlier this month that heavy rains and flooding had killed 50 people in East Africa and forced hundreds of thousands of others to evacuate their homes.