Kenya floods displace thousands of residents

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Heavy rains have been pounding many parts of the East African nation, causing floods and forcing thousands of people to evacuate, humanitarian agency said on Tuesday.

The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) said that in the Western Region, at least 330 households (HH) with a population of 1,650 have been affected by heavy rains with houses destroyed and livestock lost.

"The KRCS Western Region office has been conducting needs assessment in the affected areas and the immediate needs are alternative shelters and beddings, water and sanitation interventions as well as alert notices to the populations that are still deemed to be at risk of displacement," it said.

According to the agency, heavy rains have also hit the entire region of Dadaab refugee camps since last week, damaging tents and flooding roads.

"At least 14,280 people were affected by the floods. The Dadaab KRCS worked with other agencies to assist the affected people," the statement said.

At least 10 people have reportedly been killed by raging floods that also left several homes marooned and many families displaced. Among those who met their deaths were commuters on a public passenger vehicle that was swept by flood waters in Kajiado County in south of Nairobi on Sunday.

In Kisumu, residents waded through shoulder-high water levels to get away from the floods, while others worried about the safety of their young ones and their cattle after River Nyando burst its banks.

"Several businesses as well as transport flow along the main Nairobi-Kisumu highway were also affected after a section of the Nyamasaria Bridge was swept away," the agency said.

River Nyando as well as Ayweyo, Nyamasaria and Ombeyi, which are seasonal rivers, are currently flowing at high speeds and in case of any more rains, the rivers are likely to break their banks and further disrupt human and animal livelihoods.

Meanwhile, the coastal region has also been experiencing heavy rains from March 20 with reports of livestock deaths.

The government has started prepositioning food and non-food items to areas where floods and mudslides are expected for easy delivery in case of emergencies to the affected people.

Water dams and pans have also been constructed in arid and semi- arid areas to harness excess water run-off, ensuring minimal environmental degradation and collection of water for use during rainfall deficit period.

The government has advised people living in flood-prone areas to move to higher ground following the heavy rains in many parts of the country for the better part of last week.

Widespread destruction of property and infrastructure has also resulted, as well as disruption of key activities such as farming and education.

The most affected regions are in Western Kenya and parts of Rift Valley where heavy rains have washed away bridges and rendered many roads impassable, making efforts difficult to reach thousands of people made homeless by the flooding.

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