Kenya steps up measures to curb El Nino destruction

Kenya's health ministry said Tuesday it has stepped up efforts in readiness for the looming El Nino, which is expected to bring heavy rains, floods and massive destruction of property from October.


Nicholas Muraguri, the ministry’s Director of Medical Service, said the challenges related to service delivery, disease prevention and control have been taken in readiness for the onset of the rains.

“County health management teams and medical superintendents already have prepared plans that will minimize the impact within the health sector countrywide,” Muraguri said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

He said that all health officials are taking lead ahead of the start of the rains so that the minimum preparedness can be attained.

The country’s top physician said that the national government will provide technical and logistical support to counties to prepare and respond to emergencies that may occur.

According to the Director of Kenya Meteorology Department James Kongoti, there is a greater than 90 percent chance that the evolving El-Nino will continue through to the “Short Rains” in October-November-December season.
The East African nation has been witnessing huge weather swings in the recent times.

The long rains in April became unprecedented leading to massive destruction, death and an exposure of weak storm drainage systems across towns and cities.

The ensuing cold season has unusually extended way into mid-August and has been characterized by rains in some areas like the coastal region.

The Nairobi County government has issued a warning to residents living in flood-prone areas to move to safer grounds to avert disaster due to onset of mild El-Nino rains.

Kongoti said the El-Nino conditions have been evolving in the equatorial Pacific Ocean since May, noting that the conditions will continue through the “short rains” season and mature in December as usual.

He noted that cases of malaria and other water-borne related diseases may increase due to the expected enhanced rainfall.

“There is a likelihood of the outbreak of Rift Valley Fever in North Eastern parts of the country and at the coast,” he warned.

Muraguri said that there is a likelihood of outbreaks of water related diseases like cholera, diarrhea and diseases that have part of their life cycle in water such as bilharzias, malaria, dengue fever and highland malaria.

He directed all county health officials to map out flood and landslide hotspots within their counties that may be affected and also step up surveillance for water borne diseases.

“The rainfall expected over most agricultural areas of the country would be adequate for good crop performance. The rainfall in Western Kenya may, however, coincide with harvesting activities in parts of Rift Valley, thus interfering with the activities,” Kongoti added. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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