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Kenya evacuates tourists stuck in flooded wildlife sanctuary



Kenyan officials said that they have evacuated all the tourists that were marooned by flooding in the world-famous Maasai Mara National Reserve in the southwestern county of Narok.

Patrick Ntutu, governor of Narok County, said two helicopters have been deployed to rescue tourists and workers in Maasai Mara.

Dozens of tourists and locals working at hotels, lodges, and tents inside Maasai Mara narrowly escaped death at dawn on Wednesday when the Talek River, which runs through the wildlife sanctuary, burst its banks after torrential rains, causing widespread destruction.

Ntutu said all the visitors and workers had been evacuated safely and transferred to nearby hotels and camps where there was no flooding.

“We are implementing plans and mobilising resources to respond promptly to distress calls and ensure the safety of our residents.

“We are remaining dedicated to fulfilling our duty to protect and serve the people during these challenging times,” Ntutu said in a statement issued in Narok town.

Witnesses said visitors and workers were forced to climb trees after the camp was marooned in water; dining halls were waterlogged and the water level continued to rise.

Kenya is grappling with floods that have claimed 179 lives and displaced more than 190,000 people, according to government statistics.

In a recent briefing, Alfred Mutua, cabinet secretary for the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, urged hotels and camps adjacent to rivers in the major national parks and reserves to put in place evacuation measures in case of flooding.

“Several camps have been affected by flooding, prompting our coordinated efforts to evacuate visitors, and it has been successful so far,” Mutua said.

Ummul Idris

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