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Flooding, collapsed buildings shock social media


During the monitoring period from 4 May – 10 May 2024, the trend analysis explored different current issues within the Kenya’s media landscape. From the ongoing flood effects, schools reopening, Uthiru house accident, the extensive report examines the impactful trends covered on the social media and mainstream media.

Nyando floods

On May 4, 2024 several buildings in Ahero were submerged due to backflow of river Nyando and several properties were destroyed. Hospitals, farms, schools, markets, including police cell were flooded. The flood that was not expected left several people homeless. The flooded places were shared on Tiktok with several reposts and trended for more that 3 days.

Impact on media

The media widely covering the ongoing floods helps educates the public residing in those to be vigilant. Sharing of flooded places on Tiktok served as a reminder to the public to be aware of flooded areas. The impact of the floods has led to advisories and action by relevant authorities in the country. This has further led to detailed discussion in several media houses and experts invited to the studio.  Social media has played a crucial role in providing information to the mainstream media.

#Mathare demolitions

Following the downpour experienced across the country in the recent days, President William Ruto ordered people living in high-risk areas to vacate. This was followed by an order to the demolish houses built within 30 metres (riparian land) of Mathare river. On Monday, images of residents running battles with police as they resisted forced evictions went around the social media. The forced eviction caused the death of three children and a 17-year-old boy.

The devastating news of the untimely death triggered a heated debate across mainstream media and social media platforms with majority of users blaming the government. The video of the heartbroken mother went viral as she narrated how her son met untimely death in the hands of the government. This led to more investigation which led to the uncovering of other two deaths that happening during the government forced demolitions.

Across social media, #Mathare demolitions gained lots of visibility with Kenyans posting of such content.

Impact on media

Both the mainstream media and digital platforms used their social media platforms to condemn the government on how the demolitions were conducted and appealed to Kenyans on flood risk areas to relocate to safer places.

The coverage on the demolitions and updates on weatherman predictions increased visibility through feature stories, talk show and interviews. The increased visibility may act as a caution to communities especially those who are living in flood prone areas. The media continued to amplify the impact of the floods and this acted as a warning system to communities living in flood prone areas.

#Uthiru house collape

On May 7, 2024 images of a newly build 5 storey house that had collapsed were shared on social media. Before the mainstream media shared about the incident, social media platforms were awash with pictures of the storey building with many raising concerns on the safety of the tenants.

On Facebook Kenyans praised the rescue team for quick and coordinated response that led to safe evacuation of all 34 tenants in that building. According to a media statement released by the Nairobi city county cleared the rumours that were being circulated of missing residents including a ten-year-old girl. The Uthiru house accident news sparked conversation among 6.4k individuals on Facebook.


Impact on media

Media coverage of natural disasters plays a crucial role in informing the public on dangers and measures remaining vigilant. This also highlights the safety of buildings in Nairobi. In the recent past there have been cases of collapsed building that has brought to focus the county government approval systems.

Due to the increased coverage by both mainstream media and digital media, the accident opened discussions on the state of houses in times of flooding and measures to be taken to avert future disasters. Social media continues to be a tool for public good and has spurred conversations that has led to authorities to act.

#School reopening

On Wednesday, May 8, President William Ruto announced the school reopening dates noting that all schools would reopen on Monday 13th 2024. The opening of the schools had earlier been suspended due to the heavy downpour that was witnessed across the country.

The news of the reopening was received with mixed reactions with majority of Facebook users claiming that the decision was hurried and did not consider schools that lost infrastructure to floods. Kenyans shared pictures of the damages caused by floods in schools and questioned the government on where the Internally Displaced people who are being hosted in schools would go.

Kenyans noted that the short notice would not give the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) enough to repair classrooms and learning facilities damaged as same areas are still experiencing rains.

On Facebook, the school reopening news attracted conversation among 6.2k individuals.


Impact on media

Due to the media coverage on the school reopening, parents will now plan accordingly.  Media outlets may observe increased website traffic, social media interactions, and overall reader interest because of human interest the story has. The media has the responsibility of ensuring the public is enlightened on issues that impact them. The coverage has the potential to cause the relevant authorities to act appropriately and provide solutions to the learners in different schools.

Media houses interviewed experts on the safety of learning institutions and played their watch dog role by highlighting the state of school facilities ahead of national school reopening dates.

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