At dawn on Thursday, 4 March 2010, a massive flash flood hit Samburu in northern Kenya destroying 6 tourist lodges, some wildlife research camps and leaving thousands marooned on roof tops and on trees. This wave of rushing water came from the Ewaso Nyiro River which has burst it's banks following heavy rain around Mount Kenya.
The Ewaso Lions blog writes:
Around 5am this morning [4 March], a giant flashflood came down the Ewaso Nyiro river, washing away lodges and camps. Our friends at Elephant Watch and Save The Elephants [STE] managed to reach high ground, but the camps were wiped out. Elsewhere, people were on treetops and roofs waiting for help. The British Army, Tropic Air, and others spent the day evacuating people out of the area.
Paula Kahumbu shares on the Baraza blog a communication from the Save the Elephants whose research base was destroyed:
Today we woke up to reports from our guys at the research centre that Samburu is under water! The whole of Samburu is flooded! All our tents have been washed away! Our research camp as we know it is gone! Luckily all our guys are safe but hanging from trees and at hilltops waiting to be rescued by helicopter!
Paula's blog post says, “As of now the flood waters are apparently receding but all the camps in Samburu and Shaba have been evacuated.” This is in anticipation of more rain that is likely to come. The Ewaso Lions bloggers say, “What’s especially frightening is that a lot more rain is expected.”
The Ewaso Lions posted some photos – together with an appeal – which were sent by their blogger, Shivani, who's currently in Samburu. The appeal urges people to donate through the blog or to contact their Nairobi office (for those in Nairobi and wishing to give food and clothes). WildlifeDirect has also posted an appeal using the same photos.
One of Kenya's independent TV stations NTV has uploaded a You Tube video of the devastation.