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Tourists airlifted from Kenyan reserve as freak floods continue

Tourists were evacuated by air from Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve on Wednesday after heavy rains battered the country, flooding more than a dozen hotels, lodges and camps.

Early Wednesday morning, a river in the Masai Mara burst its banks, submerging tourist accommodation. This reserve in southwestern Kenya is a popular tourist destination due to the annual migration of wildebeest from the Serengeti in Tanzania.

The Kenya Red Cross said it had rescued more than 90 people. The Narok County government announced that it had deployed two helicopters to carry out evacuations in the vast nature reserve.

45 people die as flash floods continue in Kenya

More than 170 people have been killed and floods, landslides and infrastructure destroyed across Kenya since the rainy season began in mid-March. The Met Office has warned that more rain is expected this week.

A lodge with dozens of tourists stranded in the flooded Masai Mara National Reserve is seen in Kenya’s Narok County, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. Kenya, like other parts of East Africa, is affected by flooding. (AP Photo/Bobby Neptune)

Three major roads in the capital Nairobi were temporarily closed on Wednesday due to flooding. The Kenya Red Cross rescued 11 people after their homes were flooded overnight in Kitengela, a residential area on the outskirts of Nairobi.

A river burst through a blocked tunnel in western Kenya’s Mai Mahiu district on Monday, washing away homes and damaging roads. The incident left 48 people dead and more than 80 missing.

Search and rescue operations continue across the Mai Mahiu region. President William Ruto on Tuesday ordered the military to join the search.

Local residents say rescue efforts are being slowed by a lack of equipment to dig through the rubble.

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The government has called on people living in areas at risk of flooding to evacuate or be forced to move as water levels at two major hydroelectric dams rise to “historic highs”.

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