Thursday, May 03, 2018

Heavy Rains, Landslides Kill Many in East Africa
01 MAY, 2018 - 00:05

MOMBASA/KAMPALA/KIGALI. – Hiribae Mame stood waist-deep in water outside her wrecked house in eastern Kenya, one of around 200 000 people forced to flee by weeks of floods, landslides and heavy rains.

Kenya’s Red Cross estimates at least 100 have also died in the downpours since early April, a humanitarian disaster that it says needs emergency funding.

“I have lost 12 chicken and four goats. We were not able to save all of them and I can’t access the house because the door can’t open,” said the mother-of-four in the town of Tana River in lower Coast region.

Floods have blocked major roads across central and northern Kenya and coastal areas – the route from the capital Nairobi to the main port Mombasa was under water last week.

Eight people were killed when mudslides destroyed their homes as they slept in the hilly central region of Murang’a on Friday night, said Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet.

Gullet said the military and police had deployed helicopters for rescue missions but more efforts were needed.

Outbreaks of water-borne diseases were another concern across Kenya, he added.

“We would urge the national government to declare this a national disaster so that deliberate effort can be made and resources mobilised to help the affected people,” Gullet told reporters in the capital on Sunday.

“We need a national disaster management fund set up.” Meanwhile, nine people were killed and two others were missing in western Rwanda yesterday morning due to a heavy downpour as rains continue to wreak havoc in east African countries, a local official said.

The victims were killed when their houses collapsed and buried them under debris in three different sectors, district mayor Godfrey Ndayambaje told the media.

The dead include eight children, said the mayor. Two other residents were still missing after a landslide on their houses.

The search was still on for the two missing residents, he said.

From March to April 27, disasters triggered by heavy rains killed 95 people while 195 were injured in different parts of the country, statistics released by the ministry of disaster management shows.

At least 4 560 hectares of plantations were destroyed, 370 houses ruined while 700 domestic animals were killed during the same period, according to the statistics.

The ministry said the main disasters that caused deaths were lightning and landslides.

Uganda, another East African nation over the weekend issued a flood risk alert, warning the public to take caution as the rain season in the east African country enters peak levels.

The ministry of disaster preparedness in a statement said people are strongly advised not to walk or allow a driver to take them through a flooded road or bridge even when the floods appear below the knee or the rim of the car.

– Reuters/Xinhua/HR.

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