May 26, 2024

Tourists and staff are being evacuated from Kenya’s popular Maasai Mara game reserve after floods left parts of it submerged.

More than 10 lodges and camps have been flooded after the nearby Talek River burst its banks on Tuesday.

There are also fears that some animals might have been swept away by the raging floods.

The area’s police chief, Kipkoech Lotiatia, told the BBC the reserve was badly damaged.

“The water has subsided but some lodges and camps are still under water,” Mr Lotiatia said.

It is unclear how many people are trapped in the reserve, but about 36 have been rescued so far by air and another 25 by a boat rescue team, the Kenya Red Cross said.

“In some camps, tents have been swept away, and the Mara bridge, linking the Mara Triangle and the Greater Mara, has been washed away,” the aid agency added.

Many foreign and local tourists visit the reserve to see its wildlife, including lions, leopards and cheetahs.

Mr Lotiatia earlier told journalists that rescue teams were using two emergency helicopters to evacuate the tourists and workers.

The Masai Mara management did not immediately respond to a BBC request for comment.

The Talek river burst its banks on Tuesday afternoon following heavy rains upstream.

The situation has been made worse by waters flowing from the Mara river, near the Serengeti-Tanzania border, following days of rainfall in the area.

“After several days of continuous rainfall, our rivers have swollen, impacting several camps and areas in the Maasai Mara National Reserve,” the local Narok county government said in a statement.

Roads and bridges have also been submerged by the raging waters, affecting local communities.

The Talek gate, one of the main routes out of the game reserve, is said to be heavily flooded.

President William Ruto has ordered Kenyans living in areas at risk of flooding or landslides to evacuate.

The rainy season has been devastating this year, and about 180 people have been killed and 90 are missing in weeks of flooding.

More about the floods in Kenya:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *