10 deaths confirmed amid fears floods may spread deadly virus

Residents of Sunlight Mwandoni find their way home after a heavy downpour. [Robert Menza, Standard] 

At least 10 people have died from rotavirus since its outbreak two weeks ago, according to the Kenya Red Cross Society.

Mombasa branch chairman, Mahmoud Noor, said the casualties are seven men and three women.

“Out of the 10 deaths reported, three are from Kisauni Sub-County, two are from Nyali and one from Likoni. Four deaths are unaccounted for due to incomplete data.”

The contagious virus causes nausea and diarrhoea. It is the leading cause of severe infectious diarrhoea in children. Those affected may suffer severe diarrhoea, losing too much water that they require emergency care. The most common symptoms of rotavirus are watery diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and/or abdominal pain.

Meanwhile, the Mombasa Disaster Management Committee has appealed for support from well-wishers to alleviate the challenges faced by 1,671 people affected by floods and feared to be exposed to infection. 

Governor Abdulswamad Nassir issued a cautionary alert to the public about the disease on April 12.

The county government had then registered 75 cases among children in various health centres.

Those living in flood-prone areas have been advised to move to higher grounds to avert loss of life and property.

Three health facilities in Nyali and Jomvu have been flooded, even as the weatherman warned residents to brace themselves for more rains on Friday and Saturday.

“There is an urgent need for water treatment with drugs such as aqua tabs and chlorine tablets to address water contamination and the outbreak of diarrhoeal diseases,” said Public Administration CEC Kenneth Ambani.

“With the current outbreak of rotavirus infections, the situation might escalate if immediate WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) interventions are not taken.”

Ambani said about 1,626 people had been affected directly and 25,000 indirectly.

Areas most affected by floods and disease outbreaks are Miritini, Jomvu, Mikindani, Kazonzo, Bakarani, Magogoni, Tudor, Buxton, Ziwani, Majengo, Msikiti Ridhwa, Dolphin, Mlolongo, Migadini, Mwembeni, Shonda and Timbwani.

“Some houses have been blown away by heavy wind. Currently, 22 houses in Miritini Madukani, Mburukenge, Kipevu, and Chaani are completely damaged and 35 are partially damaged,” said Ambani.

Kipevu Primary School is hosting 65 households affected by floods.

The heavy rainfall, Ambani said, has also affected livelihoods, with traders, hawkers, and those in the transport sector suffering the most.

The Kenya Red Cross is receiving donations at fire stations in Likoni and Changamwe, and the Emergency and Operation Centre in Tudor.

Donation can also be channelled to the Mombasa branch pay bill number 4081515, account under the name Flood Response.