A search operation is under way in western Kenya for at least 22 people who disappeared during a devastating flash flood. Homes and markets were swept away after the rain triggered a landslide, killing 12 people. Over the weekend rains swept away several houses and a police post in Chesogon trading centre between the counties of Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot. The current was strong enough to uproot trees and sweep them along in a fast-moving tide. This is the period of the “Long Rains” in East Africa when the wind swings around and comes in from the Indian Ocean. It is moisture-laden and readily drops tonnes of water on Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. The East African Plateau forces the air upwards, producing general rainfall, and the mountains create the real risk of severe thunderstorms and flash floods. Kenya is particularly prone to landslides caused by heavy rain running off mountain slopes, especially where humans have changed the ecosystem by deforestation. The disaster is in the same area where a landslide had killed dozens of Kenyans five months ago.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA