Kenya president declares public holiday to mourn hundreds of flood victims

Kenya’s President William Ruto has declared Friday 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.

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

People stand on a bridge, as they watch houses in riparian land being demolished in the Mukuru area of Nairobi, Kenya

People look on as houses are demolished in the Mukuru area of Nairobi, Kenya, on May 7, 2024. The government ordered the demolition of structures and buildings illegally constructed along riparian areas. Kenya, along with other parts of East Africa, has been overwhelmed by flooding. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

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

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The meteorology 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 the 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.

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