UNICEF begins relief efforts after floods strike north-eastern Kenya

3 November 2009

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is leading UN relief efforts in north-eastern Kenya, where recent torrential rainfall has brought flooding at the same time as much of the rest of the country endures a prolonged drought.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is leading UN relief efforts in north-eastern Kenya, where recent torrential rainfall has brought flooding at the same time as much of the rest of the country endures a prolonged drought.

UNICEF is working with Kenya’s Red Cross Society and local authorities to chlorinate wells contaminated with flood water in the El Wak area of Mandera district, close to the border with Somalia, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

About 4,600 Kenyans living in the northeast and along the Indian Ocean coast have been displaced from their homes and forced to live with host families or in schools, OCHA reported today.

Fears are mounting that the wider Horn of Africa region could experience devastating floods in the next few months as the El Niño weather phenomenon takes effect, with heavy rains expected to peak this month across the region.

OCHA said as many as 750,000 people may eventually be affected by floods and landslides from the current rainy season.

UN aid agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and Kenyan authorities have developed contingency plans that include the pre-positioning of relief items such as food, mosquito nets and water treatment chemicals in flood-prone areas.

Last month UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes warned that Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda are likely to be hit hardest by El Niño, with Djibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia also at risk.

Much of the region, including large swathes of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, has been stricken by drought recently.

 

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Stricken by drought, the Horn of Africa readies for expected flooding – UN

Already in the midst of one of the worst droughts in a decade, countries in the Horn of Africa are bracing for potentially devastating flooding triggered by El Niño weather patterns, the top United Nations humanitarian official warned today.