November 23, 2019 / 1:49 PM / 14 days ago

Landslides kill 24 people as heavy rains lash northwestern Kenya

MOMBASA, Kenya, Nov 23 (Reuters) - At least 24 people, including seven children, have been killed by landslides triggered by unusually heavy rains in northwestern Kenya, a local governor said on Saturday.

The downpour began on Friday in West Pokot County, which borders Uganda, and worsened overnight, causing flooding and mudslides that swept away four bridges and left the worst-affected village, Muino, unaccessible by road.

“More people are marooned and the entire village is at risk of being wiped out by the floods,” the county’s governor, John Lonyangapuo, told Reuters by phone as he waited for a helicopter to transport him to survey the damage.

He added that rescue efforts were underway in the area, where more than 500 vehicles are stuck on roads damaged by the landslides.

Eleven of the people killed were in the same house, Lonyangapuo said.

Researchers have warned that warming oceans are causing unpredictable weather patterns in East Africa.

Heavy rains and floods have killed more than 50 people and forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes across East Africa, aid groups said earlier this month.

Kenya is experiencing a heavier than usual rainy season, the Kenya Meteorological Department said in early November. (Reporting by Joseph Akwiri Writing by Maggie Fick)

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