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MISSUE NO. 3616 

April 19 - 24, 2013

 

 Coastweek   Kenya


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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

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NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Motorists wade through a flooded road in Nairobi, capital of Kenya. The heavy rains have caused floods in many parts of the country. XINHUA PHOTO - ALLAN MUTURI

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Floods: Government plans for
new 'disaster mitigation' agency

the government has set aside 19 million U.S. dollars
to contain floods and landslides’ caused by heavy
rains pounding many parts of the country

MACHAKOS (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government said Sunday it will soon establish a Disaster Management Authority that will be charged with disaster mitigation and management in the country.

Deputy President William Ruto said the authority will also help the government’s efforts in tackling the problem of flooding which has since left at least 36 dead and over 30,000 others displaced amid a trail of destruction across the country.

“I want to assure Kenyans that we are putting everything in place to contain floods among other emergencies which might arise so as to eliminate guesswork,” Ruto in Yatta in eastern Kenya.

He said the government has set aside 19 million U.S. dollars to contain floods and landslides’ caused by heavy rains pounding many parts of the country.

Ruto said out of the 19 million dollars, 500 million will be used to repair roads which have been destroyed; 1.2 million dollars will be used in the provision of food and clothes to the affected families while 12 million dollars has been set aside to take care of other emergencies.

He assured Kenyans that the government has moved swiftly to contain the situation which has left several livestock either been killed or are missing after being swept away by flash floods in the East African nation.

Ruto noted that the government has stepped up efforts towards provision of humanitarian relief to those affected by floods across the country as the government explores long-term solution to the perennial problem.

The Deputy President expressed concern that thousands of people have been displaced by the raging floods and effects of the ongoing heavy rains pounding many parts of the country, but assured the victims that the government has moved swiftly to assist the affected families.

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

The development comes as meteorological department says depressed and poorly distributed rainfall is expected over most parts of the country during March-May “Long-Rains” season.

Among the short term measures that the meeting came up with Ndemo said included ensuring residents in areas prone to floods and landslides are relocated to safer areas to avert disaster and provision of food to the affected families.

Ruto said that the government departments responsible for mitigation and management will ensure food; drugs are provided to the affected families besides ensuring that roads which have been destroyed by the floods are repaired to enable Kenyans concentrate on their day-today activities.

He also send message of condolence to the families of people who lost their lives following heavy downpour in the area.

He assured Kenyans of government’s commitment to exploring ways of solving the problems facing them including hunger and poverty so that they can uplift their living standards.

Ruto emphasized on the need for Kenyans to rise above the differences of the electoral process and continue coexisting peacefully as brothers and sisters.

He said that under the Jubilee Government all Kenyans will be treated equally, noting that no Kenyan will be discriminated on the basis of tribe, religion, color, or political affiliation.

He also promised that the government would uplift the lives of all Kenyans and asked for the support of all in fulfilling pledges made during campaigns.

The deputy president also distributed food and clothes to over 40 families which were affected by floods in the area, adding that engineers were already working on the damaged bridges in the area.

The heavy rains have been experienced in the area for the past one week as experts warned that if no measures are taken to curb the floods, they fear facing the wrath of hunger next year due to lack of food.

The country’s food security experts last Friday warned of a looming food shortage amid heavy rains that have disrupted transport and farming activities across the East Africa.

Kenya Society for Agricultural Professionals chairman Paul Mbuni told Xinhua in Nairobi that the immediate impact of the flash floods would be an increase in prices of agricultural produce.

He said the destruction of the agricultural infrastructure such as roads and bridges will reduce food supplies leading to food insecurity towards the end of this year.

“If the current rains continue with the same intensity for the next three weeks, we expect food shortages and escalation of food prices in the month of May and June this year,” Mbuni told Xinhua in Nairobi.

Mbuni said the East Africa nation’s agriculture which is the backbone of the economy is predominantly rain-fed and hence very fragile and prone to disruption by natural calamities and disasters.

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Flash floods kill 32, displace
18,600 people in Kenya

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- At least 32 people were killed and 18,633 others displaced by flash floods caused by heavy rains in Kenya, the East African nation’s Red Cross Society (KRCS) said Wednesday.

The KRCS also reported 14 people were injured and six others missing in the floods.

“Several parts of the country especially the Coast and Western Kenya regions have been affected by flooding following an increased heavy downpour countrywide,” the humanitarian agency said in a statement issued in the capital Nairobi.

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.

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, Coastal region and parts of Rift Valley where heavy rains have washed away bridges and rendered many roads impassable, making difficult efforts to reach thousands of people made homeless by the flooding

The development comes as meteorological department says depressed and poorly distributed rainfall is expected over most parts of the country during March-May “Long-Rains” season.

According to Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD), this is likely to be more pronounced in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs). It said the western and central counties including Nairobi as well as the Coastal strip are likely to experience enhanced rainfall.

“Most of the rainfall in the country is expected during the peak month of April except over the Coastal strip where the peak is expected during the month of May,” KMD said.

The weather experts said in northwestern and Southeastern Kenya, the rainfall performance is likely to be generally depressed in April and May but slightly enhanced in March.

“Generally enhanced rainfall is expected over the western highlands, Lake Basin, central Rift Valley and the central highlands including Nairobi in March and April. It is, however, expected to be generally depressed in May,” it said.

KMD said northeastern parts are likely to experience generally depressed rainfall throughout the season. The southeastern counties are expected to receive depressed rainfall throughout the period.

The rainfall performance along the Coastal Strip is expected to be near normal in March and April but enhanced in May especially along the north coast. 

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Heavy rains cause property
destruction in western Kenya

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Heavy rains pounding several areas of western Kenya have left many households displaced as well as destruction of property and livelihoods, a humanitarian agency said on Wednesday.

The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) said several livestock have either been killed or missing after swept away by flash floods in the East African nation.

“In the larger Nyakach area namely Asao, Gem, Gem and North Nyakach, at least 639 households have been affected with the heavy rain,” KRCS said in its latest update of the region.

It said the most common destruction in these areas is collapsed latrines, contamination of water resources, and total collapse of houses, food stores destroyed, farms swept away and livestock dead.

The heavy rains have been experienced in the area for the past one week as experts warned that if no measures are taken to curb the floods, they fear facing the wrath of hunger next year due to lack of food.

The agency noted that another 130 houses have been affected with some about to collapse as well as crops swept away and others submerged.

Some area residents appealed to the government to honor the promise of stepping in to curb the flood to ensure their crops are safe to avoid losses they are encountering right now.

Last year the rains destroyed crops and swept out houses in the same areas, rendering many people homeless and now the locals have asked the state to step in and curb the floods.

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Government seeks lasting
solutions to flood mayhem

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government is putting in place measures that will permanently solve flash floods problem which has so far claimed 32 lives and displaced 26,000 others in the East African nation.

Deputy President William Ruto who convened a disaster management committee meeting on Wednesday evening to assess the damage caused by floods in some parts of the country said that the floods which continue to wreck havoc in many parts of the country required urgent measures to contain the situation.

In a message delivered on his behalf by Information Permanent Secretary Dr. Bitange Ndemo after the meeting, Ruto expressed concern that lives have been lost and 26,000 people displaced by the floods following heavy rains currently hitting different parts of the country and which has also paralyzed transport system.

“The deputy president has spent the better part of this (Wednesday) evening in consultation with various government departments over mobilization of resources to assist those in need, “ Ndemo told journalists in Nairobi.

The meeting was attended by a ten Permanent Secretaries charged with disaster mitigation and management in the country.

Ruto said that the meeting was aimed at minimizing negative flood-related impacts and appealed to members of the public to be cautious when crossing swollen rivers to avoid getting drowned.

The deputy president also called on residents in areas prone to floods and landslides to heed the government’s directive to move to safer areas to avert disaster.

He said that the government will step up efforts towards provision of humanitarian relief to those affected by floods across the country as the government explores long-term solution to the perennial problem.

Ruto expressed concern that thousands of people have been displaced by the raging floods and effects of the ongoing heavy rains pounding many parts of the country, but assured the victims that the government has moved swiftly to assist the affected families.

The flash floods have caused 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, Coastal region and parts of Rift Valley where heavy rains have washed away bridges and rendered many roads impassable, making difficult efforts to reach thousands of people made homeless by the flooding

The development comes as meteorological department says depressed and poorly distributed rainfall is expected over most parts of the country during March-May ‘Long-Rains’ season.Among the short term measures that the meeting came up with Ndemo said included ensuring residents in areas prone to floods and landslides are relocated to safer areas to avert disaster and provision of food to the affected families.

He said that the long-term measures included exploring ways of managing flooding through data and tools that make timely-flood forecasting and impact-mitigation possible as well as planting trees in areas prone to floods and landslides.

According to Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD), this is likely to be more pronounced in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs).

It said the western and central counties including Nairobi as well as the Coastal strip are likely to experience enhanced rainfall.

“Most of the rainfall in the country is expected during the peak month of April except over the Coastal strip where the peak is expected during the month of May,” KMD said.

The weather experts said in northwestern and Southeastern Kenya, the rainfall performance is likely to be generally depressed in April and May but slightly enhanced in March.

“Generally enhanced rainfall is expected over the western highlands, Lake Basin, central Rift Valley and the central highlands including Nairobi in March and April. It is, however, expected to be generally depressed in May,” it said.

KMD said northeastern parts are likely to experience generally depressed rainfall throughout the season. The southeastern counties are expected to receive depressed rainfall throughout the period.

The rainfall performance along the Coastal Strip is expected to be near normal in March and April but enhanced in May especially along the north coast.

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