Floods kill over 60 Kenyans - govt

2013-04-18 15:07

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Nairobi - Flooding in Kenya after heavy seasonal rains has killed more than 60 people and forced tens of thousands from their homes in the past month, Vice-President William Ruto said on Thursday.

"As at now, 63 people have been killed," Ruto told reporters, watching as five tons of food and other essential items were prepared to be flown to affected areas at a military airbase in the capital Nairobi.

"The government has directed the military to urgently evacuate people marooned by floods," he added, noting that the north-eastern regions of Merti and Garbatulla were particularly badly affected.

Dozens of people die every year during Kenya's three-month long rainy season, which runs usually from March until May.

Kenya's army said it had flown aid deliveries to the central town of Isiolo, and dispatched helicopters to drop food in north-eastern areas cut off by road due to the floods.

Areas across Kenya have been affected by the heavy rains, with roads and property have been damaged in many parts of the country.

On Wednesday, two children were killed by a landslide caused by the rains in Kenya's Rift Valley, while helicopters were used to rescue more than 40 people marooned by floods in the eastern Garissa region.

Eight passengers were swept away as they travelled on a truck to the northern town of Marsabit earlier this month.

"The government will mobilise all the available resources to assist the affected persons," Ruto added.

Parts of Kenya suffered from extreme drought in 2011 - like the wider Horn of Africa region, including parts of war-torn southern Somalia where famine was declared - and the heavy rains are being welcomed by farmers.

However, traders are also struggling, with several cut off due to roads washed away.

"All my goods will go to waste," said truck driver Sokotei Balesa, stuck in Isiolo with a load of vegetables. "I am trying to find a trader to buy them."

Read more on:    kenya  |  weather  |  east africa  |  floods

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