At least 29 people were killed in Kenya when their homes were swept away in landslides during ferocious overnight rainstorms, the government said yesterday.
Their homes were hit in the early hours of yesterday amid torrential rains in the Pokot region, 350 kilometres (220 miles) northwest of the capital Nairobi.
“We are saddened to confirm that 12 people from Tapach and Parua in Pokot South, and 17 from Tamkal in Pokot Central lost their lives,” Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i said in a statement.
“Our profound sympathies go to the families and friends of those who have been affected.”
Army and police helicopters have been sent, Matiang’i said, with rescue efforts delayed because roads have been cut and bridges closed after streams turned into raging torrents.
“Massive landslides reported in various areas of West Pokot County following heavy downpour,” Kenya Red Cross said in a message, adding its emergency response teams had deployed to help.
West Pokot County Commissioner Apollo Okello said that two children were pulled out alive from the smashed wreckage of their mud-covered homes.
“They have been rushed to hospital,” he said.
Rescue efforts to dig bodies out of the dirt continued.
“The challenge we are facing is the heavy rains, but we are trying our best,” he added.
It is not only Kenya that is affected. The landslides come amid weeks of destructive rains and flooding across East Africa.