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Red Cross in Sh600m floods appeal

NAIROBI, November 13 – The Kenya Red Cross Society is seeking close to Sh600 million to assist an estimated 300,000 people affected by floods and landslides in the country.

Secretary General Abbas Gullet who launched the appeal on Thursday said the funds would provide assistance to affected families for the next three months.

“We have the capacity at this level for material and human resource to address the needs of up to 180,000 people but we need finances for vehicles and other logistics means,” Mr Gullet said, adding that the International Committee of the Red Cross had already promised Sh12 million for the crisis.

Mr Gullet said the Society was providing health and sanitation and other non-food items while the government had committed to help those affected with food items.

“There is total co-ordination with the government, United Nations agencies and other international non governmental organisation. Together we have set a disaster committee and we held a meeting yesterday here at our offices. We are going to have another one at the President’s office on Friday,” Mr Gullet said.

In his weekly briefing government spokesman Alfred Mutua assured that none of those affected by the crisis would go hungry. “If we can use helicopters to airlift exam papers we can also airlift food. We really take seriously the issue of feeding our people,” he said.

The onset of short rains late last month brought tragedy with tens of people losing their lives. At least 50,000 are estimated to have been displaced from their homes by the crisis and are now living in the cold. Preliminary information from the Society indicates that the situation is worse in North Eastern Province and Budalangi in Western Kenya.

Mandera district which has been in the spotlight for the better part of the year following tribal clashes that have claimed 24 lives has also been hit by famine and Mr Gullet confirmed that it had been receiving food aid for the last three years.

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In Wajir town there is worry of an outbreak of waterborne diseases. “The water system in the town has been contaminated with human waste and with this we have a serious potential for the diseases,” he explained. He said that a Water treatment plant had been sent to the town to cater for the residents.

Parts of Eastern province, North Rift and Muranga have also been affected the rains.

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