NAIROBI, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Kenya has intensified its flood response countrywide as the death toll from devastating flash floods has risen to 165.
Government Spokesperson Isaac Mwaura said that ongoing rescue efforts have saved lives, including the recent rescue of five police officers and relocation of 80 individuals to safer grounds in the coastal Lamu region.
Mwaura said that more than 107,843 households and more than 600,000 people have been impacted, with 539,215 Kenyans displaced.
"The government, in collaboration with humanitarian organizations, swiftly provided aid, food deliveries, and relocation efforts to higher ground," Mwaura said in a statement released Wednesday evening.
El Nino-induced heavy rains and flash floods have affected 38 out of 47 counties since October, causing severe flooding that washed away homes, marooned areas, submerged farmland, and led to livestock losses, according to government and humanitarian agencies.
The worst affected areas include semiarid lands reliant on pastoralism, still recovering from a severe drought that resulted in high rates of malnutrition.
Mwaura said that coastal, western and eastern parts of Kenya are worst hit, with Lamu and Tana River counties likely to join the list due to ongoing floods expected to persist.
"Flood water continues downstream, putting these two counties on high alert," Mwaura warned, emphasizing the distribution of essential food items, water treatment supplies, medical drugs, and veterinary support to alleviate suffering.
The Kenya Meteorological Department forecasts the unusually heavy rains to persist into the New Year. ■