KENYA: Floods hit thousands, including IDP camps

Friday, April 4, 2008

At least 6,000 people have been affected by flooding following heavy rains in the southern coastal district of Taveta, the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) said.

"Three primary schools have also been closed temporarily after being submerged," Anthony Mwangi, the KRCS Public Relations Manager said on 1 April. "The water levels in some areas are up to chest level."

Groups of people have been marooned, with transport services also affected, he said.

The hardest hit areas include the villages of Eldoro A, B, C, Ngutini Python Hill, Kinongo A, B, Kisogoto, Marodo, Lambu, Marigasa, Kiwalwa and Marisa in the Kimorigo, Mbogoni and Mahoo sub-locations of the district. The schools affected were Abuni, Eldoro and Notima primary schools.

Some pit latrines also filled up or collapsed due to the flooding, presenting the risk of spreading water-borne diseases. However, Mwangi said there had not been any reports of contamination so far.

He said KRCS was providing food and non-food items to the affected people and trying to assess the needs of those marooned.

"We are also conducting an assessment to determine the magnitude of the flooding," he added.

Meanwhile, KRCS has helped thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) affected by flooding in their camps move to higher ground.

“The flooding is a major challenge facing the IDPs but we cannot relocate them to different camps due to logistical issues,” Mwangi said.

The camps most affected by flooding included those in Nakuru in Rift Valley Province and the neighbouring town of Naivasha. There are at least 15,718 IDPs in the Showground camp and 1,020 in the Afraha camp, two of the main IDP camps in Nakuru.

In the long-term, Mwangi said, the needs of the IDPs, such as resettlement, security, house reconstruction, the provision of farming implements and peace and reconciliation, would need to be addressed.

Thousands of people were displaced across the country following the eruption of violence over the disputed results of the December 2007 elections.

Source: IRIN