Kenya

Caritas supports victims of Kenyan floods

Extreme floods in the coastal regions of Kenya swept away the homes of more than 75,000 families in recent weeks. Caritas Australia has offered $50,000 to Caritas Kenya and other Caritas partners to support the victims of the floods and will be accepting further donations.

As the floods peaked at up to 12 metres, many people spent up to three days taking refuge in trees as the waters washed away their homes and destroyed all their recently harvested crops.

Food and urgent medical attention has been provided to people who have been sheltering from the rain in schools and other available buildings.

The main focus of the relief effort over the next month will be in five main areas;

Potable water - major water supplies have been contaminated by the flooding and diarrhoeal diseases are affecting many, particularly children. Chemicals used to clean water are also in low supply, hence water supply is crucial in the next few weeks.

Malaria prevention - as the affected areas are prone to malaria epidemics, malaria prevention is paramount with the increased bodies of stagnant water.

Housing/Shelter - with more than 200,000 people losing their homes, temporary shelters and urgent supplies of blankets and household utensils are an immediate priority.

Sanitation - with more than 50% of all toilets destroyed there is an immediate focus on installing latrines in institutions such as schools, halls and health facilities where many are temporarily sheltered

Food - Although food stocks for Kenya are sufficient, many communities have now lost their recently harvested crops and remain cut off from transport routes, hence a limited number of helicopter drops have commenced.

Simon Stroud from Caritas Australia's Africa team said "Plastic sheeting for temporary shelter and adequate food and water supplies are our immediate priority. Sanitation was already poor before the floods and now many of the latrines that did exist have overflowed or collapsed so we have to address that need.

"We will also be working with local health facilities to support the prevention of an outbreak of waterborne diseases like cholera, as well as malaria which will inevitably increase as the water subsides - leaving ideal conditions for mosquitoes to breed."

"When the immediate needs are met, Caritas partners will develop a twelve month rehabilitation plan and we will make a further contribution when that plan is in place", concluded Simon Stroud from Caritas Australia.

To support the work of Caritas Australia's partners response in the current Kenya floods you can donate by calling 1800 024 413 or online at www.caritas.org.au through our Africa Appeal.

For more information call Tim O'Connor 02) 9923 3400 or 0417 284 831