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17 cases of diarrhoea reported in Kilifi IDP camp

 The risk of an outbreak of waterborne diseases is high. [iStockphoto]

At least 17 cases of severe diarrhoea have been reported in a camp for internally displaced persons at a primary school in Magarini, Kilifi county.

The camp at Karamboni Primary School is holding hundreds of IDPs whose homes were destroyed by floods after River Sabaki burst its banks due to heavy rains upstream.

Kilifi Disaster Management County Executive Committee (CEC) member Ruth Masha said more than 1,299 families were displaced by floods in Malindi and Magarini.

The people affected by diarrhoea presented with stomach pains, vomiting and high fever raising fears of an outbreak of waterborne diseases.

Kilifi County Health Executive Committee member (CEC), Peter Mwarogo said that in the last 24 hours, 15 people were rushed to hospital with similar symptoms.

"Within 24 hours, 15 cases of diarrhoea have been reported and treated in the area. In the morning, we had two similar cases," said Mwarogo in a phone interview.

He urged locals to remain vigilant, especially in areas where latrines were destroyed by floods

The CEC said that lack of clean drinking water poses a health risk to victims of floods in camps.

"Because of the floods, the drinking water has been contaminated," said Mwarogo, who however denied reports of a cholera outbreak in Kilifi.

Health workers attributed the diarrhoea to contaminated water used in the camps.

Kilifi County Kenya Red Cross Society Coordinator Kawthar Mohammed said they were providing quick treatment and distribution of water tablets to displaced families for domestic water treatment.

"Yesterday we distributed water treatment tablets to 600 households in Magarini sub county. We have established medical outreach in Garashi and Bate to assess the situation," she said.

Ms Mohammed said some of the victims have non-communicable diseases like cancer and their medication was swept away by floods.

"We want to understand the IDPs needs so that we can see if we can supply them with the medication or get a chemist around so they can buy the drugs," she said.

She said Kenya Red Cross Society was also conducting malnutrition screening to confirm the nutritional status of children under five years, pregnant women as well as lactating mothers.

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