Kenya issues floods alert

May 13, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 13 – The Government has issued a flood alert in areas downstream of Kiambere dam following fears that it will overflow over the next two days.

A statement by Government Spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua said heavy rains over the next few days would cause flooding in several parts of the country and advised people living near the main rivers to immediately evacuate the areas.

“The Government issues an alert to all Kenyans and especially those on the main rivers, that due to the heavy rains, we expect dams to fill up and spill over in the next two days,” a statement posted on his website stated.

“Heavy flooding is also expected in lower Tana areas in Garissa and Tana River Districts. District Commissioners have already been alerted and evacuation plans are underway,” he added.

He said the public should not wait for the floods to occur but should instead take immediate contingency measures.

The statement also indicated that District Commissioners had already been alerted and evacuation plans had been set in motion.

The government warning came as the Kenya Red Cross Society made an emergency appeal of about Sh538 million to assist 128,000 people affected by floods in various parts of the country.

Deputy Secretary General Dr James Kisia said on Thursday that the number of affected people was rising every day.  At least 77 people have been reported dead following the heavy rains which began in March.

He said about 9,400 households had been displaced by the floods and the humanitarian organisation was now working with the meteorological department to reduce the impact of the heavy rains.

“The importance of this is to link early warning to early action so that if we know today that we will have an overflow of Kiambere (dam) eight to 10 hours prior, we can use our volunteers in the lower Tana delta to advice people to move to higher ground,” Dr Kisia said.

He said they had already deployed personnel to areas that were likely to be cut off by floods because it would be difficult to reach them with relief and medical supplies when it flooded.

Kenya Red Cross Goodwill ambassador Gina Din Kariuki appealed to Kenyans to support the society in helping those affected by the floods.

“It’s not just helping them during the floods but in the recovery that’s important. The floods will end, the rains will end but there is a there-after for them,” she said.

Floods due to the long rains started on March 1 against a prior backdrop of drought and outbreak of diseases in parts of the country which increased the vulnerability of the populations affected by the current floods.

“It’s our responsibility as Kenyans to reach out to help people that are not able to help themselves, I know it will put a smile on people that just don’t have a smile today,” Mrs Kariuki said.

The Kenya Red Cross said about 1.2 million people were under relief support in the country following the prolonged drought last year.


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