Kenya floods: tourists evacuated from Maasai Mara after river bursts banks

Kenya floods: tourists evacuated from Maasai Mara after river bursts banks

Scores of tourists have been evacuated by air from Kenya’s Maasai Mara national reserve after more than a dozen hotels, lodges and camps were flooded as heavy rains battered the country.

Tourist accommodation facilities were submerged after a river in the Maasai Mara broke its banks on Wednesday morning. The reserve, in south-west Kenya, is a popular tourist destination because it features the annual wildebeest migration from the Serengeti in Tanzania.

The Kenya Red Cross said it rescued more than 90 people. The Narok county government said it deployed two helicopters to carry out evacuations in the expansive conservation area.

More than 170 people have died across Kenya since mid-March when the rainy season started, causing flooding, landslides and destroying infrastructure. The Meteorological Department said more rain was expected this week.

Brown flood waters cover a bridge View image in fullscreen

On Wednesday, three main roads in the capital, Nairobi, were temporarily closed due to flooding. The Kenya Red Cross rescued 11 people from a residential area – Kitengela – in the outskirts of Nairobi after their homes flooded overnight.

On Monday, a river broke through a clogged tunnel in the Mai Mahiu area in western Kenya, sweeping away houses and damaging roads. It left 48 people dead and more than 80 others missing.

Search and rescue operations across Mai Mahiu continue. On Tuesday the president, William Ruto, ordered the military to join in the search. Local people say rescue efforts have been slow due to a lack of equipment to dig through the debris.

The government has urged people living in flood-prone areas to evacuate or be moved forcefully as water levels in two hydroelectric dams have risen to a “historic high”.