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Flash floods kill 17, displace more than 60,000

By | April 25th 2012

By Peter Orengo

At least 17 people have died and more than 60,000 affected by flash floods across the country.

Seven people were swept away by flash floods in Hells Gate Gorge, Naivasha, at the weekend and another seven died in Gwasi mudslides.

A boy drowned in Tana River after he was swept away by floods. Another two died last week in Mlolongo after a bus that had carried them was swept away by floods.

The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) on Tuesday warned that the humanitarian situation was worsening as rains continue to pound parts of the country.

"The Society has activated its flood watch system and prepositioned its non-food item stock as part of early action and preparedness for early recovery and less impact," said KRCS Communications Manager Nelly Muluka.

She said KRCS disaster response teams are on standby countrywide to provide assistance to those who will be affected by floods.

Affected populations

KRCS said in Taita Taveta County many people were left homeless after their houses were submerged by water. Crops and livestock were also washed away and infrastructure such as roads, bridges and schools destroyed.

"We carried out a comprehensive rapid assessment of the situation jointly with the DO, chiefs and public health officers to determine the immediate needs of affected populations," Ms Muluka said.

The assessment indicated that the most affected population was in need of immediate food, non-food items such as shelter, water and sanitation.

Most affected areas in Bomeni Division were the villages of Marekeke, Merodo, Majengo, Masingitini and Forodani where 100 houses were submerged and 55 others swept away by floods.

In Kimuringo Division, affected areas included Kimonjo A and B and Ngutuni with 198 households affected. Jipe Division’s Rekeke and Kimala villages had 473 households affected and crops washed away.

In Tana River, heavy rains in Kamagur location, Bangale Division, left a nine-year-old boy dead, 15 homes marooned and at least 600 head of cattle washed away by floods.

In Mlolongo, heavy rains accompanied by a storm blew off rooftops and swept away houses while others were submerged.

Preliminary reports

The KRCS Machakos and Nairobi branches responded to the incident that affected 172 households. The affected areas were Syokimau, Beijing Road, Phase Three and areas near Mlolongo Police Station. KRCS distributed non-food items to the affected families. Heavy storms were also reported in Maragua where preliminary reports indicate that 18 houses were destroyed.

On Monday heavy rains pounded the villages of Nyangweso and Oluch Kimira in Homa Bay and left more than 200 families homeless. And in Gwasi East and Central locations, floods swept away seven people including five children and affected 8 households.

Rescue efforts

Livestock and farms were also swept away by floods. Efforts to recover three missing bodies are ongoing and both food and non-food items have been distributed to the affected families. Ministry of Special Programmes is putting in place measures to step up rescue efforts.

In Loiyangalani area, heavy rains washed away at least 80 goats and left some seven houses destroyed in Lordabash village.

Last week, floods in Jam city village in Mavoko location, Athi River District, submerged houses.

The Meteorological Department in their quarterly prediction has warned that the country is expected to experience La-Nina. This may include flash floods, lightning in Western Kenya especially in Gusii and Kakamega counties owing to strong convective activities between Lake Victoria, Mau Escarpment and Mt Elgon.

Budalangi and Kano areas are also likely to experience some degree of flash floods while isolated cases of landslides/mudslides may be reported in some parts of Western and Rift Valley.

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