Kenya issues flood alert, says 3 dams may overflow

Kenya issued a flood alert and said three dams on the country's longest river were likely to overflow in coming days as heavy rains continue to pound east Africa.

Kenya issues flood alert, says 3 dams may overflow

Kenya issued a flood alert on Friday and said three dams on the country's longest river were likely to overflow in coming days as heavy rains continue to pound east Africa.

El Nino weather patterns across the region are blamed for the flooding and landslides that have destroyed roads and buildings and killed scores in east Africa's biggest economy.

"We only have one meter of space left before Masinga dam starts overflowing and that will consequently cause the overflow of Kiambere, Gitaru dams setting off major flooding in northeastern and eastern Kenya," said Colonel Vincent Anami, the head of the national disaster operations centre.

An evacuation exercise is already under way which will move thousands of people living close to River Tana, Anami told Reuters by telephone.

The Kenya Red Cross Society said 81 people had been killed by flooding and landslides since the beginning of the year, down from its earlier estimate of 100 in the first four months. The government put the death toll at 71.

Red Cross spokeswoman Nelly Muluka told Reuters 128,000 people had been affected, including 69,000 whose homes had been swept away by flood waters.

"This rain has worsened the vulnerability of the people who had been already affected by the drought last year and ... we have launched an appeal of $6 million to help those affected," Muluka told Reuters.

The Kenya Red Cross also warned of outbreaks of water-borne diseases in areas hit by the floods.

El Nino caused abnormally heavy rainfall in 1997/98 in Kenya, but last year the country suffered a severe drought which also hampered food production and hit economic growth.

Reuters

Last Mod: 14 Mayıs 2010, 16:20
Add Comment