Around 80 people in Kenya and Somalia have lost their lives in less than a month as a result of floods caused by heavy rains, which come on the heels of East Africa’s worst drought in decades.
department and the national government for failing to prepare for the rains.
“The met department misadvised the president. What followed next saw everyone sleep on the job and we were caught off-guard,” said Ahmed Abdullah, the governor of Wajir County where more than 10,000 households have been caught up in the floods.
While international forecasters including the World Meteorological Organisation predicted that the East African region could experience heavy rainfall linked to the El Niño weather phenomenon, the Kenya Meteorological Department downplayed the risk.
That prompted President William Ruto to tell Kenyans at the end of October not to expect El Niño rains.
The meteorological office has since issued an apology.
El Nino is typically associated with increased heat worldwide, as well as drought in some parts of the world and heavy rains elsewhere. It is expected to last until at least April 2024