Nairobi - Flooding in Kenya after heavy seasonal rains has
killed more than 60 people and forced tens of thousands from their homes in the
past month, Vice-President William Ruto said on Thursday.
"As at now, 63 people have been killed," Ruto told
reporters, watching as five tons of food and other essential items were
prepared to be flown to affected areas at a military airbase in the capital
"The government has directed the military to urgently
evacuate people marooned by floods," he added, noting that the north-eastern
regions of Merti and Garbatulla were particularly badly affected.
Dozens of people die every year during Kenya's three-month
long rainy season, which runs usually from March until May.
Kenya's army said it had flown aid deliveries to the central
town of Isiolo, and dispatched helicopters to drop food in north-eastern areas
cut off by road due to the floods.
Areas across Kenya have been affected by the heavy rains,
with roads and property have been damaged in many parts of the country.
On Wednesday, two children were killed by a landslide caused
by the rains in Kenya's Rift Valley, while helicopters were used to rescue more
than 40 people marooned by floods in the eastern Garissa region.
Eight passengers were swept away as they travelled on a
truck to the northern town of Marsabit earlier this month.
"The government will mobilise all the available
resources to assist the affected persons," Ruto added.
Parts of Kenya suffered from extreme drought in 2011 - like
the wider Horn of Africa region, including parts of war-torn southern Somalia
where famine was declared - and the heavy rains are being welcomed by farmers.
However, traders are also struggling, with several cut off
due to roads washed away.
"All my goods will go to waste," said truck driver
Sokotei Balesa, stuck in Isiolo with a load of vegetables. "I am trying to
find a trader to buy them."