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Aid Agency Launches Appeal for Kenyan Flood Victims

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies launched a multi-million dollar appeal to help people affected by flooding across Kenya. Cathy Majtenyi reports for VOA from Nairobi.

The agency is asking for almost $22 million to assist in what they say is a desperate situation.

Kenya Red Cross spokesman Anthony Mwangi explains.

"We need real urgent intervention from the international community to come forward and assist us, because every day really counts," he said. "Showers will continue right through December into January. This Christmas season, we are appealing to people to donate a part of their Christmas gifts towards the people who have been affected [by floods] in Kenya."

Some 723,000 people have been affected by the floods in different parts of Kenya, particularly in the western area of Bubalangi, Elwak and Mandera in the northeast, and Garissa in the east.

Mwangi says a health care crisis looms in the northeast.

"Water has mixed with the sewage and there is a potential of an outbreak of diseases, such as cholera, dysentery and other diseases that are related to poor sanitation," he said.

The agency estimates that 34 people have died, and around 60,000 people have been displaced by the flooding in the country's coastal, western and eastern provinces. More than 315,000 people have been cut off as a result of destroyed roads and bridges.

Mwangi says that the $22 million his agency hopes to raise will be used to purchase blankets, mosquito nets, kitchen sets, shelter materials, and what is known as WHO kits, a collection of medicines supplied by the World Health Organization to treat malaria, dysentery, cholera and other flood-related diseases.

Massive flooding has also affected large numbers of people in Ethiopia, Somalia, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Central African Republic.