Home Africa Masai Mara Flooded: Kenya Braces For More Heavy Rains And A Cyclone

Masai Mara Flooded: Kenya Braces For More Heavy Rains And A Cyclone

12-year-old Sijm Sluijs was staying at the Masai Mara National Reserve when he was jolted out of his sleep due to thunder and lightning sounds. “My mom went outside to see what was happening. And to the right, (we saw) people jump over crocodiles and the security was in panic, everyone was in panic.”

Heavy rainfall has severely flooded parts of the Masai Mara National Reserve, a major tourist destination in Kenya. More than 10 lodges and camps have been flooded and tourists have been stranded. Around 90 tourists were rescued by Thursday, as per the Kenya Red Cross.

The Talek river breached its banks, flooding the nearby camps where tourists were staying. Many tents have been washed away. The Talek gate, one of the main exits out of the reserve is also said to be flooded. Helicopters have been used to rescue stranded tourists.

Tourist Lonneke Sluijs said, “The helicopter landed at the poolside, alright, so we all went to the poolside. And then the guys came out and they said ‘Yeah, you’ll be fine, it’s okay. And you have to swim, can you swim? He can swim?’ I said ‘Yes he can.’ I said ‘But there are crocodiles in there, how can we swim?’ And I was very afraid.”

Nitin A Gokhale WhatsApp Channel

As per the Kenya Red Cross, the Mara Bridge, linking the Mara Triangle and the Greater Mara, has been washed away. The local Narok county government said in a statement – “After several days of continuous rainfall, our rivers have swollen, impacting several camps and areas in the Maasai Mara National Reserve.”

The rains have been particularly devastating this year for Kenya where over 180 people have died since March. 90 are reported missing. At least 50 people died when a mudslide swept them away in their sleep in their homes in the villages near Mai Mahiu. Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, has also been impacted by flooding.

President William Ruto has issued evacuation orders for people staying close to 178 dams and reservoirs as more heavy rains are expected in the days ahead. That has further increased the risk of both flooding and landslides.

In addition, the coastal region is also bracing for Cyclone Hidaya that is expected to bring with it heavy rainfall, large waves and strong winds.