Hundreds Dead As Floods Persist In East Africa

Weeks of torrential rain after a long drought have turned from blessing to curse in East Africa, killing hundreds of people and displacing hundreds of thousands of others.

Flood in East Africa

In Kenya, which had suffered from three failed rainy seasons, 120 people have died in two months, including eight who were swept off a bridge in a flash flood Thursday night outside the capital, witnesses said.

The Red Cross appealed for $5 million (four million euros) to help those affected.

Since early March, “112 people have lost their lives countrywide,” Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet told a press conference Friday, not including Thursday night’s incident.

Flooding has washed away bridges and homes, with the military airlifting residents from submerged houses in some parts of the country.

“About 48,177 households have been displaced so far and this translates to 260,200 people,” Gullet said.

He said over 21,000 acres (8,500 hectares) of crops had been destroyed and some 20,000 animals washed away.

On Monday the government announced that up to 100 schools would not open for the second term due to flooding.

Somalia, also struck by a severe drought, has received heavy rains and the south-central town of Beledweyne was engulfed by flood waters after the Shabelle river burst its banks.

The peacekeeping force AMISOM stepped in to evacuate some 10,000 residents, according to its Twitter account.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed visited the district on Tuesday.

“I came here to Beledweyne to share with you the pain and hardships caused by the devastating floods, I know that there are more than 100,000 people displaced from their homes because of the floods and many others still stranded inside town,” he said.

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