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Raining death: 112 perish as floods wreak havoc

ANTHONY MWANGI and KNA

The ongoing rains and flooding have claimed nearly 120 lives, the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) said on Friday.

The latest victims of the menace were eight people who died and several others went missing after being swept away by raging floods at Fatima South Bridge on River Kandisi in Ongata Rongai, Kajiado county on Thursday night.

Six of the victims, two men and four women, drowned while crossing a bridge on their way home while the other two, a woman and her son, were killed by floods inside their house near Kiserian.

The bridge, which is still under construction, was funded by the county government. And Friday, KRCS secretary general Abbas Gullet put the situation into perspective, saying at least 260,200 people have been affected in 32 counties ravaged by floods.

The worst hit counties include Tana River, Kilifi, Kisumu, Mandera, Isiolo, Turkana, Marsabit, Makueni and Kitui. Gullet spoke during the launch of a Sh499 million emergency appeal to support affected families.

“The numbers that we can report here is 112 people have lost their lives countrywide, acreage of land destroyed is over 21,000 acres in various parts of the country which had crops.

Almost over 20,000 livestock have been washed away. At least 42 health facilities have also been affected by the floods in various parts of the country,” he said.

His figure—of 112—had not factored in the Thursday Kajiado victims. He said the organisation is trying to assist those affected in the priority areas of shelter, food, Health, water and sanitation “The number of schools submerged are even over 100 and a number of them have been turned into IDP camps where affected people have sought shelter.”

Since the floods menace hit the country, Red Cross has been able to rescue 556 individuals and to assist close to 90,000 people with food and non food items.

Close to 30,000 people were reached with essential health services and treatment of minor injuries. Approximately 25,000 people were reached with clean water. In the Kajiado incident, bodies scattered on the river banks, were yet to be collected on Friday.

Angry residents later blocked the Kiserian- Ongata Rongai road for more than four hours to protest shoddy work on the bridge. They called for the contractor’s arrest. Kajiado County Commissioner David Kipkemei urged residents to be on high alert and avoid crossing flooded rivers at night.

He regretted that more than 25 lives had been lost in the county since the rains started in March. “It is sad that we have lost more than 25 lives since the rains started as people do not listen to warnings not to cross flooded rivers and bridges. We will now be forced to take action against those crossing flooded rivers for endangering their lives,” he said.

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