Associated Press, May 4, 2003
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Floods caused by heavy rains in Kenya have killed more than two dozen people in recent days, a newspaper reported Sunday.
Among the latest deaths was the drowning of a 3-year-old girl Friday in a Nairobi slum, the Sunday Nation newspaper reported. The girl and her younger brother were in their family's one-room house when floodwaters rushed through the ramshackle dwelling, sweeping her away, the newspaper reported. The boy was saved by a passer-by.
Neither police nor government emergency management officials were immediately available for comment Sunday.
However, the Nation reported that President Mwai Kibaki appointed a team of officials to tour the country's worst hit areas and assess the damage.
Using a police helicopter, the team, led by Tourism Minister Raphael Tuju, visited parts of western Kenya on Saturday.
Flooding is common during the April to June rainy season in Kenya, where bridges and poorly-built roads, many of which are dirt, are routinely washed out by heavy rains.
Floods disaster fund set up
The Government has launched a fund for flood victims as the death toll from the floods exceeded 30 people.
The fund was launched as reports indicated that a secondary school teacher in Mbeere District had been swept to his death by raging floods.
The fund was launched by the Vice-President and Minister for National Reconstruction, Michael Kijana Wamalwa, who said every effort must be made to "stop further casualties by flooding".
The fund comes barely 48 hours after the MP for Yatta, Mr James Mutiso, and two other people perished at Mbakoni River, 70 km from Machakos town, when his car was swept away by raging floods.
The Vice-President said the plight of the affected families posed a desperate situation and that their future was bleak.
He appealed to non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the private sector and governments to respond "urgently and generously".
The V-P thanked the organisations that had so far responded and assisted victims but pointed out that more needed to be done.
The worst affected were those who live near or along rivers Nyando and Nzoia in Nyanza and Western provinces, where most of the deaths have been reported.
However, the deaths from the floods have also been reported as far afield as Samburu, where two people perished on Friday, bringing to five the dead in the district.
In the last one week, heavy rains have pounded Nyando, Kisumu, Budalangi, Rachuonyo and Nyatike areas of Western and Nyanza provinces.
In addition to the reported deaths, some 10,000 people have been rendered homeless in various parts of the country as a result of the floods and are awaiting emergency food supplies and other urgent interventions.
The rains, which have destroyed buildings and schools in addition to infrastructure, show no signs of abating.
The Kenya Red Cross Society has responded by sending goods and materials worth Sh1.6 million to the affected areas mostly in the western region of the country.
Those who live in flood-prone areas have relocated to higher grounds to save their lives.
Donations to the Fund can be sent to the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Vice- President.