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Heavy Rains in Kenya Kill Dozens, Displace Tens of Thousands


Homes flooded by water after the river Sondu Miriu burst it's banks in southern Nyanza , Kenya, April 29, 2012.

Homes flooded by water after the river Sondu Miriu burst it's banks in southern Nyanza , Kenya, April 29, 2012.

NAIROBI - Continually heavy rains have wreaked havoc across Kenya, claiming dozens of lives and displacing tens of thousands people. .


The Kenya Red Cross Society reports that at least 65 people have died since March because of landslides, flash floods and other effects of the heavy rains that have been pounding the country.


The rains have displaced more than 100,000 people - almost 15,000 households - whose homes were washed away.


The most affected areas of Kenya are Nyanza Province, parts of Rift Valley Province, sections of the capital Nairobi and parts of Coast province.


Dr. Ali Outtara is medical coordinator for the aid agency Doctors Without Borders in Kenya. He said his group has provided medical services and other support to affected communities in Suba and Homa Bay districts in western Kenya.


He said in recent times his agency has had to allocate increasing resources to cope with the floods.


"The budget - usually we allocate for those flood interventions. But that was even increased, you see: double or even triple because really we are assisting more and more people we are having for these floods," said Outtara. "[In] Suba, we intervened in three kinds of intervention in less than three months."


He said the severity of floods also has increased.


"You have many people who are really losing everything, even a house and all those kind of things. There were also some deaths," said Outtara.


Outtara said the most common illnesses that have been by Doctors Without Borders in the flood areas are malaria, respiratory diseases and skin conditions. Some pit latrines have been washed away by the flood waters, raising sanitation and contamination concerns.


His agency and others have been providing blankets, drinking water, mosquito nets, food and other supplies.


According to the Kenya Meteorological Department, flooding has mainly resulted from several rivers bursting their banks, while landslides occurred after soils have been saturated.

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