Page last updated at 11:08 GMT, Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Floods in drought-hit Kenya spark aid appeal

Kenya map

Thousands of Kenyans have been displaced by devastating floods in recent days, prompting the government to ask for international help.

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka promised to do all he could to prevent any further deaths in the floods, which have so far killed at least 15 people.

The rains have hit hard across the country - even in areas suffering from a prolonged drought.

The Kenya Red Cross said 30,000 people were in dire need of food aid.

The agency's secretary general Abbas Gullet said the situation was desperate in Mogotio, Rongai and other parts of Rift Valley province.

The BBC's Wanyama Chebusiri in Nairobi says the Mogotio area is home to many people who were displaced by the riots following the 2007 election.

He says they are the most vulnerable people because many of them are still living in tents.

'Washed away'

Mr Musyoka said the deluge was a major setback to communities recovering from drought.

"I have spent the better part of today consulting with various agencies over mobilisation of resources to assist those in need," he told reporters.

"The government would like to assure all Kenyans that it will do all that it can to ensure no more loss of human life where possible."

Francis Munyambu, police chief of the Rift Valley province, told AFP news agency that 12 bodies had been recovered in recent days.

"There are more people who have been found dead in different areas after they were washed away by the floods," he said.

"Most rivers are swollen and people cannot cross."

The Red Cross said on Monday that more than 20 people had been killed across the country - though the government has confirmed only 15 deaths.

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