Heavy Downpours Causing Flooding in Kenya and Increasing the Threat of Cholera

Flooding in Kenya

Since March, flooding in Kenya has left hundreds of thousands homeless especially those living in Northern Kenya close to the Tana river which has burst its banks.

The death toll from the flooding in Kenya has risen to over 100, the Red Cross has reported noting that more than 260,000 people have been displaced.

Authorities in the country and humanitarian groups have been airlifting stranded residents and providing aid to villages cut off by the floods.

“Families marooned by flood waters are now camping in safer areas in Garissa and Tana River counties, [and] are benefiting from our emergency water treatment plant. We are able to provide clean drinking water at a rate of 4,000 litres per hour.”

The latest deaths have mostly been due to landslides as certain communities that have been advised to move to safer grounds have opted to stay put.

Flooding in Kenya has blocked major roads across central and northern Kenya and coastal areas – the route from the capital Nairobi to the main port Mombasa was under water last week.

Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet said the military and police had deployed helicopters for rescue missions but more efforts were needed. Outbreaks of water-borne diseases were another concern across Kenya, he added.

“The major humanitarian concern, beyond the displacement, is disease outbreaks, particularly cholera and chikungunya, a mosquito-borne disease,” Jens Laerke, the spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told a press conference at the UN in Geneva.

Noting nearly 3,000 cholera cases, including 55 deaths, by the end of April in Kenya, Laerke warned that flooding would exacerbate cholera outbreaks and increase the risk of vector-borne diseases, which also include malaria and dengue fever.

Flooding problems have also been reported in Uganda and Somalia.

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