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Thursday, 9 May, 2002, 19:15 GMT 20:15 UK
Flooding sweeps East Africa
Heavy rains caused by unusually high temperatures over the Indian Ocean have killed more than 112 people in east Africa in the last two weeks.

Floods and mudslides have forced tens of thousands of people to leave their homes in Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda.

This is the rainy season in the region, but meteorological experts say the rains have been much heavier than usual.

We have counted 50 dead... At least 1,577 homes have been destroyed and many cattle killed.

Benjamin Ndahirwa, Rwanda's Disaster Management

Rwanda has suffered the heaviest toll, with more than 50 dead in the last 10 days, many of the deaths caused by landslides.

"The toll could rise because the rainy season does not stop before mid-June," Benjamin Ndahirwa, a member of Rwanda's National Committee for Disaster Management, told AFP news agency.

"At least 1,577 homes have been destroyed and many cattle killed."

About 20 people died as a result of heavy rains in October.


In Kenya, floods and mudslides have killed 46 people in the two weeks, police have said.

In two incidents in central Kenya, 15 people died when mudslides overran their homes as they slept on April 30 and May 4.

The spokesman for Kenya's National Disaster Operations Centre, Bonventure Wendo, says some 50,000 people have been displaced in western Kenya.

Flood in Nairobi
Nairobi is drowning in non-drinking water

In northeast Kenya, local authorities have also asked up to 50,000 people living near the Tana River to move to higher ground.

Several hydro-electric dams have been built along the river and are now overflowing.

"This excess water is worrying us because it poses a danger to people downstream," said Mr Wendo.

Supplies of food and water have also been affected in several urban areas, including Kenya's capital, Nairobi.

Further south, in Tanzania, reports say at least nine people died in floods and hundreds of families have been left homeless.

Local officials say there has been considerable damage done to buildings and farms.

High temperatures

In Uganda, a man and his six children were buried alive in a landslide caused by heavy rains and hundreds of families have had to leave their homes.

The BBC's Abraham Odeke in Njinja, Uganda says two other people died in the northern Tororo district after hitting a submerged bridge.

They were identified as a primary school boy and a middle-aged man.

In Burundi, 147 homes have been destroyed at a centre for displaced people.

Paddy fields around the capital's airport lie under a metre (three feet) of water.

Kenyan meteorologist Wandimi Muchemi blamed the unusually high temperatures over the Indian Ocean for the heavy rains in the regions.

Abbas Gullet of Red Cross on BBC Focus on Africa
"Houses are submerged under water"
See also:

09 May 02 | Africa
Devastating floods hit Kenya
07 May 02 | Africa
Nairobi parched despite downpour
07 Mar 01 | Africa
Fighting to save Kenya's forests
27 Mar 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Kenya
27 Mar 02 | Country profiles
Timeline: Kenya
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