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Monday, January 19, 1998 Published at 13:45 GMT

World: Monitoring

Rift Valley Fever: Kenyan media reports

The International Red Cross has warned that an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever in Kenya is out of control. The warning comes as the country experiences torrential rains and flooding, which are helping to create conditions for the spread of the disease. Below is a round-up of Kenyan media reports on the situation:

Red Cross warns Rift Valley Fever spreading out of control

Text of report by Kenyan radio on 15th January

Efforts to contain the outbreak of Rift Valley fever that has claimed more than 450 lives in Kenya's North Eastern Province and southern Somalia were being hampered by limited resources the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has warned.

The Federation said the disease continues to spread and it believed that the region may be swept by a new and more virulent strain of the fever.

In a press release sent to KBC [Kenya Broadcasting Corporation], the International Federation said the disease was getting out of control due to flood water which has made it impossible to reach the affected regions.

According to Dr Saad Abdalla, the International Federation head coordinator, they were focusing on prevention and control but without proper surveillance to follow-up on disease reports from outlying areas which are hampered.

The fever, which is said to be spread by mosquitoes among livestock, can be transmitted from animals to humans and was extending steadily.

The fever symptoms include headaches, vomiting, diarrhoea and bleeding from the body's orifices.

Source: KBC radio, Nairobi, in English 1300 gmt 15 Jan 98

Unknown disease spreading to central areas

Excerpt from report by Kenyan radio on 12th January

An unidentified disease is reportedly killing over 10 people daily in Garba Tula, Sericho, Kinna and Merti Division of Isiolo District [Eastern Province].

The disease, believed to be Rift Valley fever, has killed more than 150 people and 30,000 goats in the last one month.

The area leaders, led by the former chairman of the Isiolo County Council, Mohammed Malicha, appealed to the government and NGOs to urgently send medical personnel and drugs to contain the situation.

The most affected area is Malka Daka location where floods have rendered more than 3,000 people homeless...

Source: KBC radio, Nairobi, in English 1600 gmt 12 Jan 98

Rift Valley Fever reportedly kills 31 more people

Excerpts from report by the Kenyan news agency KNA

Garissa, 9th January: The disease, which according to preliminary investigations is Rift Valley [fever], has increased the death tally by claiming 31 more lives in the past one week, the Northeastern provincial commissioner [PC], Mr Maurice Makhanu, has revealed today.

Addressing KNA in his office, Mr Makhanu disclosed that 15 people died [in] Shantabaq and 16 in Gurfa [place names as received] of Garissa District...

Mr Makhanu further said the veterinary department had been incorporated in the operation as animals too have been affected, saying that over 4,000 goats and sheep had died in Dabaab area of a disease suspected to be anthrax though sharing [the] same symptoms as those affecting human life...

Source: KNA news agency, Nairobi, in English 1140 gmt 9 Jan 98

Death toll from rains reaches 86

Text of report by Kenyan TV on 17th January

The death toll from the torrential rains pounding most parts of the country reached 86 today, after nine other people drowned.

According to Deputy Police Commissioner Geoffrey Mwathe, more than 2,300 families have been displaced in Garissa [North Eastern Province] after Tana river burst its banks ...

In Kangundo [Eastern Province] only four people have been rescued from a village of 16 families after the entire village was washed away by the swollen Athi river.

Addressing the press in Nairobi, Mr Mwathe said that police headquarters had set up a disaster operations centre to deal with rescue missions and appealed to members of the public to report all emergency situations to the police on telephone numbers 999, all police hotlines or [the] disaster operations centre's number, 221117.

Source: KBC TV, Nairobi, in English 1800 gmt 17 Jan 98

Large locust swarms reported near border, more flood deaths announced

Excerpts from report by Kenyan KTN TV on 17th January

Nine more people have died from flood-related incidents. The deaths bring to 86 the number of people who have died so far from the floods. Giving the updates, the deputy commissioner of police, Geoffrey Mwathe, said that four children in Mwala division of Machakos [Eastern Province] were buried in a landslide and killed instantly ...

In addition to reports on floods, the deputy police commissioner said they had received reports from the Ethiopian agricultural officer indicating that large swarms of locusts were sighted along the Ethiopian-Kenyan border heading towards the country.

Source: KTN TV, Nairobi, in English 1800 gmt 17 Jan 98

Heavy rains pound Mombasa, roads flooded

Excerpts from report by the Kenyan news agency KNA

Mombasa, 18th January: Heavy rain pounded Mombasa and its environs this morning as the El Nino rains phenomenon continues to be felt countrywide.

The rains, which started at around 0300 [local time] a.m. went on for about five hours continuously, causing flooding on roads and many parts of the town ...

The rains are expected to further deteriorate the state of the roads in Mombasa town ...

Source: KNA news agency, Nairobi, in English 1155gmt 18 Jan 98

BBC Monitoring (, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.    

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