UN: 30,000 people affected by flooding in Kenya

Friday, January 8, 2010

The United Nations has said that about 30,000 people have been affected by recent flooding in Kenya, caused by torrential rains. The organisation cautioned that a cholera epidemic may ensue as a result.

Heavy rains started in Kenya ten days ago, and are still falling. Kenyan police reported that 34 people died due to the rising waters.

"Heavy rainfall between 27 December 2009 and 5 January 2009 has caused massive flooding in northern, central and western Kenya leaving 30,000 people affected by floods," commented a spokeswoman of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Elisabeth Byrs.

"The main concern from these floods in Kenya is cholera. Last December, the Turkana district faced an unprecedented cholera outbreak. We fear that this epidemic will reemerge and spread," she added.

Roads, bridges, and schools were heavily damaged or ruined by the flooding, and thousands of livestock were swept away by the water; Byrs also said that "crops have also been damaged although the impact is yet to be fully assessed."

Byrs noted that current priorities are for food, drinkable water and sanitation, and shelter. She said that the UN launched a $550 million appeal in November for humanitarian operations throughout Kenya in 2010.