Recent heavy rain and flooding killed 15 people in Kenya and displaced thousands of others, the Kenya Red Cross Society says.
The heavy rainfall also killed livestock and destroyed businesses and farmland, said Peter Murgor, a disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation manager with the Kenya Red Cross Society.
“Schools [are] being affected ... and even hospital facilities in some of the places that have been marooned are also affected,” Murgor told VOA.
The situation could get worse, Murgor said.
In its forecast for this year’s last quarter, the Kenya Meteorological Department had warned the country will experience above-average rainfall, driven by warmer sea surface temperatures over the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.
“We are informed by the [weather forecaster] that November normally is the peak,” Murgor told VOA. “If November is the peak and we are just at the beginning of November, chances are ... the situation is likely to worsen in the month towards the end, probably seeing a bit more people being displaced, probably seeing a bit more loss of livelihoods.”
Nearly half of the 47 counties in Kenya are at risk, he said, with the northeastern part of the country being the most affected.
Heavy rains also have affected neighboring Uganda, Ethiopia and Somalia, where the government declared a state of emergency after 29 people died and hundreds of thousands were displaced as a result of the extreme weather.
Meanwhile, in Kenya, Murgor said flash floods would likely cause more problems.
“We are likely to see a rise in disease outbreak as a secondary impact of the flooding,” he said. “But from the Kenya Red Cross prospect, we are working together with the ministry of health, with the government, with stakeholders, trying to see how to mitigate against the effect, how to anticipate and then try to act early [and] work with farmers to do post-harvest loss management.”
He also said that in cases in which early warnings are possible, communities would be alerted about possible floods so people can move to safer ground.