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President directs flood relief efforts amid cholera outbreak fears

President directs flood relief efforts amid cholera outbreak fears

KENYA—President William Ruto has urged the Ministry of Health to collaborate with development partners to alleviate the consequences of floods that have resulted in cholera outbreaks and displacements.

This appeal to action follows President Ruto’s visit to flood-stricken communities in Mai Mahiu earlier this week, during which he assured victims of imminent relief, including basic supplies such as food, medication, and other essentials.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Health and the Kenya Red Cross, the current national death toll from floods has increased to 188, with 125 people injured and 90 reported missing.

Furthermore, the disaster has displaced around 33,100 households, for a total of 165,500 people.

With weather projections predict average to above-average rainfall over the next three months, which means there is a constant threat of flooding in low-lying areas, increasing the risk of landslides and mudslides.

Speaking in his State of the Nation Address at the State House on Friday, the president emphasized the critical need for immediate allocation of vital resources and logistical assistance, such as medications, food, and medical supplies, for those affected by the widespread heavy rainfall and severe flooding across the country.

He went on to name organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Programme (WFP), the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as critical partners ready to give vital assistance to flood victims.

President Ruto also urged relevant government ministries, departments, and agencies to work closely with the National Disaster Operations Center (NDOC) and security agencies to successfully manage the issue at hand.

So far, the Ministry of Health, through the State Department of Public Health and Professional Standards, is leading relief efforts by prioritizing the distribution of essential supplies, including mosquito nets, water treatment chemicals, nutritional supplements, dignity kits, and infection prevention items.

Floods spark cholera outbreak fears

Meanwhile, the president’s call comes as the Ministry of Health’s State Department of Public Health and Professional Standards has also published a comprehensive update on the floods and the growing concerns about waterborne diseases, notably the cholera outbreak.

The Ministry stated that the torrential rains and flooding resulted in a confirmed cholera case in Tana River County, indicating a major escalation in outbreak status.

There are additional suspected cases in Marsabit County, emphasizing the serious threat presented by waterborne infections.

In her remarks on cholera cases, Principal Secretary Mary Muthoni Muriuki emphasized the significance of following preventive measures and government guidelines to limit the spread of cholera and other waterborne infections.

She went on to say that, while cholera is preventable, it remains a serious health danger that necessitates early detection and prompt medical attention, with contributing factors such as sanitation breakdown and the consumption of contaminated water during flooding exacerbating the problem.

In response, the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with county governments, has swiftly mobilized multi-agency teams to affected regions to improve continuous surveillance and reporting of waterborne diseases. This is being supplemented by the distribution of cholera contingency supplies to manage patients.

In addition, efforts are being made to provide Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) supplies to sanitize water sources and treat household water in high-risk areas and rescue camps, as well as community health education initiatives to promote healthy practices and raise awareness of preventative measures.

The ministry has also placed an emphasis on following preventive procedures such as regular handwashing, safe water usage, food safety standards, and responsible waste management.

Individuals experiencing symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting should seek emergency medical attention or contact the National Public Health Emergency Operation Center.

The Ministry, in collaboration with county governments and stakeholders, remains dedicated to protecting public health and minimizing waterborne disease outbreaks across the nation

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