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A daily chronicle of a rapidly changing continent.

Rains come to East Africa

After terrible drought, now Kenya is innundated with torrential downpours.
Kenya rains 2011 12 5Enlarge
A Somali woman at Kenya's border with Somalia makes her way through a large rain puddle on October 15, 2011 following heavy rains. (Tony Karumba /AFP/Getty Images)

The meteorologists say that East Africa had the worst rainfall in 60 years this year triggering a catastrophic drought that at its height left more than 12 million people short of food and in Somalia malnutrition reached famine levels.

But now the rains have arrived.

On a recent trip to Somalia there were green shoots in the desert and here in Kenya it feels as if the rain might never stop.

Nairobi is clogged with traffic — vehicles lie stalled and half-submerged in huge puddles, others are abandoned on the road where they ran out of petrol in the endless jams — in the rural areas the situation is worse with planted crops being washed away and harvested ones rotting instead of drying.

Local papers are reporting more than a dozen deaths and tens of thousands forced from their homes by the torrential downpours and floods.