Goats and sheep die in floods in northern Kenya

Goats and sheep died in the floods, followed by cold winds, in northern Kenya. Around 20,000 goats and sheep died last week after the torrential rain in just one area of Marsabit County.

The heavy rains came with colder than normal temperatures and sharp winds. “It rained three days ago. In between the rains, it was very windy, like ice,” Guyo Gufu, a nomad goat herder from the Gabra tribe, said.

All 350 of his goats died in the storm. “These goats were my only means of survival, I have camels, but I don’t know where they are. I don’t know if they are dead or alive,” he said.

According to the Kenya Meteorological Department, parts of Marsabit experienced 90 mm (3.5 inches) of rain in one day, nearly twice the daily amount classified as severe rain. The last time similar rains hit the area was in 1998.

The floods followed a drought from October to December, which weakened the herds, said Roba Koto, a government official in North Horr.

That drought left the ground parched and the animals that survived scrawny and unsellable. It was the third straight season of poor rains in eastern and northern Kenya. Experts say climate change is expected to increase the frequency and severity of such droughts.

“The percentage number of the animals that have succumbed as a result of drought – we made an assessment, it’s almost 40%. The remaining balance – 90% of the remaining balance – have succumbed to this rainfall,” Koto said.

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