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Floods due to "degraded water catchments"

[Malawi] Malawi floods operation.
Malawi is vulnerable to frequent floods and droughts (IFRC)

The Kenyan government has said the current floods in the country are not just due to the ongoing heavy rainfall, but to degraded water catchments.

The government and the UN held a meeting on Thursday to discuss ways of coping with the devastating floods that have hit the country, particularly in the west.

According to a UN briefing paper, the Meteorological Department has described the current rains as "normal or slightly above normal", but says the degraded water catchments can no longer handle even normal rainfall.

In this regard, the government stressed the need to rehabilitate dykes and dams, as well as the water catchment areas, including reforestation using community participation.

Over 40 people have been killed and tens of thousands displaced by the floods.

In a statement, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said it had been asked by the government to coordinate the delivery of non-food assistance to the victims.

The IFRC said it had already mobilised hundreds of trained volunteers from the Kenya Red Cross Society to help deliver humanitarian assistance and step up ongoing malaria prevention activities.

The organisation said it had also launched an emergency appeal for US $610,000 to help some 60,000 people most affected by the floods for an initial period of two months.

“This is just the beginning of the rainy season, so we should be prepared for a deterioration in the situation," said Mary Kuria of the Kenya Red Cross. "More destruction will also increase the number of victims and we should be prepared to revise this appeal upwards.”

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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