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Gachagua confirms El Nino as Red Cross appeals for more help.

Kenya is already experiencing the El Nino rains that had been predicted by the weatherman before the forecast was scaled down to enhanced heavy rainfall.Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on Friday announced the country was already in the El Nino phenomenon and urged all stakeholders including development partners to help save lives and protect property.


The call came even as the Red Cross urged for more concerted efforts to address the effects of raging floods in the Northeastern region where at least 14 people have died while the number of those displaced continues to rise.


In Nairobi, Gachagua who spoke after chairing the National Emergency Response Committee said the government has deployed KDF aircraft to help in evacuating those marooned by floods.


“As we speak, we’re delivering the KCSE exams to areas disconnected due to damaged roads,” he said.


Gachagua said the government had also activated multi-agency teams and mobilised technical and financial resources for easier response.


“We are distributing food, maize, rice, beans, cooking oil and non-food items to tens of families affected to reduce their suffering,” he said.


The DP had earlier called Kenya Meteorological Department director David Gikunju to confirm that indeed it was El Nino and not just heavy rains the country was experiencing.


“Let me point out that we have El Nino and we do apologise for the miscommunication. Moving forward, let’s prepare ourselves for the enhanced rainfall as a result of the El Nino phenomenon that we are in now,” Gachagua said.


“I think the matter is settled and El Nino it is.”


The new weather forecast has projected heavy rains until April and Gachagua said the government will continuously sensitise the public.At least 19 counties in arid and semi-arid lands have so far been adversely affected with roads being cut off.


“Sections of roads have been cut off in counties such as Wajir, Isiolo, Mandera, Marsabit, Tana River, and Garissa, among others. This has reduced access via land,” he said.


Several families, he added, have been displaced in Northern Kenya and downstream in areas like the Tana River with efforts to document the missing persons, livestock lost and crops destroyed ongoing.At least 14 people have been killed by flash floods in Northern Kenya while two drowned in two separate incidents following heavy rains in Nairobi.


Article By Suzy Nyongesa.


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