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30,000 need aid after Kenya floods

Tens of thousands of people urgently need shelter, water, food and medical care after floods ravaged Kenya and forced them to leave their homes the Kenya Red Cross Society KRCS said. Police on Tuesday reported 35 deaths after torrential rains have deluged several parts of north Kenya, sweeping away houses, destroying crops and cattle and forcing 30, 000 people to leave their homes. Roads and bridges have been destroyed or damaged, leaving villagers without food or water, putting them at risk of cholera and other waterborne diseases.

Kenya’s government has appealed for international help and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka promised to do all he could to prevent any further deaths. The Red Cross has started trucking includes blankets, jerry cans, mosquito nets, kitchen sets, soap and water treatment tablets to Turkana and Nakuru in the north west, where about 30,000 people have been affected in the past few days. The head of Kenya's Red Cross Society, Abbas Gullet said the 30,000 in need is likely to rise because more heavy rains are still expected until the end of the month. He said that the situation needed urgent attention before the rains caused more havoc. He further appealed for more funds to respond to help the affected population in areas at high risk of cholera and other waterborne diseases. “This has the potential of becoming an environmental disaster. We managed to address the immediate needs, but we need support to help our brothers and sisters,” Gullet told United Nations news service, IRIN. Megan Gilgan, at the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said: “We are concerned about recurrences of watery diarrhoea and cholera in Lokori, East Turkana. The area already faced an unprecedented outbreak in December and the situation could worsen now. We have emergency health kits available and water purification tablets for 30,000 people, enough supplies for a month.”

The Ministry of Public Health has also been handing out medical and water to avoid a possible cholera outbreak in affected areas. The consignment consists of water quality testing kits, water treatment tablets, cholera kits and other items. Kenya has been experiencing an upsurge of cholera outbreaks for the last eight months affecting 53 districts. Local leader in Marsabit, Mohamed Kochale, urged the government and aid agencies to help people who could not get to markets to buy food or get themselves to health treatment centres. He said hundreds of children there were still at home and had not reported to school because roads were closed. ''We managed to address the immediate needs but we need support to help our brothers and sisters. Lorries, which are the only means of transport and are also used to ferry food, have been unable to reach some of the areas because the roads and bridges have been destroyed," he said.

By Hayley Jarvis for SOS Children