UN aid officials warn of fears of water-borne diseases in flooded Kenya


10 March - The recently flooded regions of Kenya could fall victim to water-borne diseases if public hygiene campaigns are not organized, the United Nations humanitarian wing warned today.

This year's rainy season in Kenya, which just begun and is expected to last through June, has killed at least 11 people and affected some 8,300 others. The northern, north-eastern and western regions of the country are the worst affected areas.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said hundreds of livestock have been washed away and farms are submerged, particularly near the country's border with Uganda, where mudslides have caused thousands to flee their homes.

In the central district of Isiolo, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has provided chlorine for water purification.

Garba Tulla, a small town in the district known for one of the country's large schools, may need additional support since the piped water distribution system has reportedly been damaged, said the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Potable water is also needed in the north-eastern town of Mandera, near the border with Ethiopia and Somalia, where displaced people have been gathering. The town is known for droughts and frequent periods of famine.

UNICEF is consulting with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Kenyan Red Cross Society to provide health support, including the distribution of health kits which are on standby.

OCHA said it is also working with local partners on potential plans for flood-prone areas, in case of emergency.