AFRICA/KENYA - FLOODS STILL AN EMERGENCY: COUNTRY ASKS ITSELF HOW CAN SUCH DISASTERS BE AVOIDED

Wednesday, 7 May 2003

Nairobi (Fides Service) – It is still difficult to estimate precisely the number of people killed and the damages caused by floods which stuck Kenya at the end of April. So far about thirty people are reported to have died and about one million are homeless, but many isolated areas have yet to be reached by rescue workers.
“The emergency is by no means over, but the country is already asking how itself how to avoid such tragedies in the future” local sources tell Fides Service in Nairobi. “Kenya lives between two threats: drought and floods. To face these emergencies the country needs a water policy, something it has never had. Past governments never had a plan to manage rivers and lakes and this left the country in a difficult situation. The new government will have to deal with the matter. In this sense the present disaster may serve to trigger the preparation of a water policy. The credit the government has at the international level should make it easy to find international institutions willing to provide the necessary capital to implement such a water plan”.
“A water management plan is urgent – local sources say – as we view the vast areas of flooded countryside knowing that all this water will be wasted instead of being stored for future use. This means the next emergency will very likely be drought. This is one of the paradoxes of this beautiful country. So far, a few Catholic dioceses have been the only ones to undertake projects to supply water to farmers; projects which are praiseworthy but partial. Only a government can undertake a serious nation-wide water project”. LM (Fides Service 7/5/2003 EM lines 24 Words: 281)


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