Saturday, March 6, 2010

Warning in Kenya sounded long before rains via IRIN: Health services in Kenya should prepare for above-average precipitation during the March-to-May rainy season, according to a government forecast. "Water-borne diseases associated with poor sanitation as well as flooding may emerge in areas expected to receive enhanced rainfall," the director of meteorological services, Joseph Mukabana, warned in a 4 March statement. "Health authorities are, therefore, expected to be on the lookout and equip hospitals with necessary drugs to be able to deal with such situations as they arise," he added.

Some regions within seven of the country's eight provinces are expected to "receive normal rainfall with a slight tendency towards above-normal", according to the statement, adding that rains in Coast Province may, however, tend towards "below-normal". Several districts in northwestern Kenya experienced a prolonged cholera outbreak in 2009; the region is forecast to have above-normal rains from March to May. Mukabana also urged local authorities to clear drainage systems to avoid flash flooding.

At present, Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) teams are responding to two days of flash flooding in some divisions in Mandera East District, in the northeast, where streams running through the town have burst their banks, the acting head of disaster preparedness, Abdishakur Othowai, told IRIN. "Residents are not able to cross from one side of the road to the other," Othowai said.

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