Kenya declares public holiday to mourn flood victims, schools to reopen

More than 235,000 people are displaced and living in dozens of camps

Kenya’s President William Ruto has declared Friday May 10 a public holiday to mourn the 238 people who have died due to ongoing flooding.

The president on Wednesday said the day will be observed by national tree planting activities to help mitigate the effects of climate change.

Kenya, along with other parts of East Africa, has been overwhelmed by floods. More than 235,000 people are displaced and living in dozens of camps.

President Ruto also announced the reopening of schools countrywide, after two weeks delay due to heavy rains that have destroyed hundreds of schools.

The government had said more than 1,000 schools were affected by the heavy rains and flooding and set aside funds for renovations.

The metrology department in its daily weather forecast has continued to predict moderate to heavy rainfall in most parts of the country.

The government is in the process of forcefully evacuating people living in flood-prone areas and those near rivers and dams as water levels in the country’s major hydroelectric dams rise to “historic levels”.

This week, the government bulldozed houses in informal settlements of Mathare and Mukuru in the capital Nairobi and the president promised evicted families the equivalent of $75 to relocate after a deadline passed to evacuate amid deadly rains.


As of Tuesday, the number of people who have died due to the floods rose to 238, while 75 are still missing according to the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki, 174 people have been reported injured and 47,000 families or 235,000 people displaced.

He added that 167 camps had been set up across 22 counties hosting 70,451 people, and approximately 286,011 people have been impacted by the heavy rains.


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