The coastal city of Mombasa, Kenya, faced a severe crisis as heavy rainfall on Thursday night resulted in devastating floods. Major roads, including the recently constructed Makupa Bridge, were submerged, causing significant damage to cars and critical infrastructure. As a result, pedestrians and passengers found themselves stranded due to widespread traffic disruption in the area.
The affected highway, a critical link connecting Mombasa and Nairobi, left travelers with limited alternatives, leading to some individuals missing their flights at the Moi International Airport and disrupting Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) train services. Drivers traveling from Nairobi to Mombasa were left with no choice but to await intervention from traffic police and county officials.
The relentless downpour rendered roads that were still under construction impassable, exacerbating the situation in a region that has experienced rainfall affecting various parts of the country. With all inbound vehicles from Nairobi and Mombasa forced to share a single lane, the need for swift intervention became evident.
Efforts are underway to address the flooding and drain away the excess water. Mombasa County officials have issued warnings to road users, particularly those utilizing roads under construction, in an attempt to ensure public safety in these challenging conditions.
The Kenya Meteorological Department had previously issued a warning in August 2023, predicting a 99 percent likelihood of heavy rainfall across the country, a weather pattern linked to El Niño. These rains were projected to commence in September, continuing through January, with peak intensity expected towards the end of October.
However, President William Ruto contested these predictions, asserting that El Niño had been downgraded, and the nation would only experience substantial rainfall. His statement raised questions about the accuracy of weather forecasts and their implications on disaster preparedness and response in Kenya.