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KENYA: Floods displace thousands, destroy crops
NAKURU, 5 September 2012 (IRIN) – Thousands of people have been displaced in parts of Kenya’s Rift Valley Province as floodwaters continue to submerge houses and schools and destroy crops.
They are among more than 240,000 people throughout eastern Africa are estimated to be affected by seasonal flooding.
An estimated 642 households have been affected by flooding in the Kenyan districts of Baringo and Marigat, with at least five schools being submerged, according to data from the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS).
The floods have caused latrines to overflow, contaminating water sources. “I have no better water to drink. I have to use what is readily available, even if I am aware of the risk of contracting diseases,” Lydiah Kuyale, a resident of Loropil Village in Marigat, told IRIN as she fetched flood water for domestic use.
Kuyale’s retail kiosk was among those inundated. But even as her family seeks refuge at a neighbour’s house, her main worry is her son’s education.
“If the classes remain submerged, how will my son get to school?” she asked. Her son is set to take the final primary school exam later this year.
Chicken farmer John Ledapana is also assessing his losses after most of his poultry were swept away by the floodwaters, leaving him with only six 3-week-old chicks.
In Marigat District, two rivers that feed Lake Baringo have breached their banks, overflowing into neighbouring villages. Lake Baringo has extended its banks by up to 1.km, according to the KRCS, which warned that a further 290 families are at risk of displacement if the rains continue.
The agency recommended that the river beds be excavated to improve water retention in the rivers and that dams be constructed upstream to control the volume of water reaching the lake.