Tourists Rescued from Kenya’s Maasai Mara Reserve Due to Flooding, Severe Rainfall

Tourists were airlifted from Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve on Wednesday as heavy rains caused flooding, impacting over a dozen hotels, lodges, and camps. Accommodation facilities for tourists were submerged after a river in the reserve overflowed early Wednesday. Situated in southwestern Kenya, the Maasai Mara is renowned for its annual wildebeest migration from Tanzania’s Serengeti.

The Kenya Red Cross conducted over 90 rescues, while the Narok County government deployed two helicopters for evacuations in the vast conservation area. Since mid-March, Kenya has witnessed over 180 fatalities due to flooding and landslides, with infrastructure damage being widespread. The Meteorology Department forecasts further rainfall this week.

In Nairobi, three major roads were temporarily shut due to flooding, with the Kenya Red Cross rescuing 11 individuals from flooded homes in Kitengela on the city’s outskirts. A river breakthrough in Mai Mahiu, western Kenya, on Monday, resulted in 48 deaths and over 80 people missing. Search and rescue operations are ongoing, with President William Ruto ordering military involvement.

Residents have criticized the slow rescue efforts, attributing them to a lack of suitable equipment. The government has advised people in flood-prone areas to evacuate promptly, warning of rising water levels in major hydroelectric dams.