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Brace for more floods, says MET

The government has been asked to immediately set up a national disaster centre to effectively respond to a looming floods catastrophe.

Meteorological Services director Joseph Mukabana on Monday said the centre will enable the government to respond to the disasters in a more co-ordinated and effective manner.

Lightning likely

On Monday, the director warned that flooding would continue to hit some parts of the country while lightning was likely to occur in parts of Lake Victoria, Mt Elgon, Nandi, Kakamega and Kisii.

“I would like to urge people in these areas to avoid sheltering under trees during rains and ensure they wear shoes,” Dr Mukabana said.

“At the same time, motorists should avoid driving along flooded roads as this could result in disasters,” he warned.

The floods and landslides have been caused by the ongoing heavy rains that have hit most parts of the country.

“In Kenya, for example, 90 per cent of disasters that occur are climate or weather related and we need to build resilience to enable us to respond effectively when they strike,” Dr Mukabana said.

Mitigate effects

“The existing lethargy among our populace on the regular weather forecasts released by my department is dangerous since the level of accuracy is quite high,” he added.

The proposal by the director comes barely a day after Deputy President William Ruto announced that the government has set aside Sh1.6 billion to mitigate the effects of floods and landslides.

Mr Ruto said out of the amount, Sh500 million would go to road repairs, while Sh100 million would be used to buy food and basic necessities for the affected families. Sh1 billion would take care of other emergencies.

While releasing the March to May long rains season forecast, Dr Mukabana had warned the country to brace for floods, landslides and lightning strikes in some parts of the country during the period.

He spoke during the opening of the 17th session of the African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development governing board meeting at Nairobi Safari Club.

Dr Mukabana urged the authorities to ensure drainage systems in their respective counties are unblocked.

He appealed to Kenyans to avoid building homes on steep slopes which are prone to mudslides.

The week-long workshop brings together some 100 delegates from several African countries to discuss ways of improving dissemination of climate information in their respective countries.

Igad Climate Prediction and Application Centre director, Prof Laban Ogallo, urged African countries to strive to emulate the West by providing “the best climate information available”.

By MIKE MWANIKI mmwaniki@ke.nationmedia.com Posted Monday, April 15 2013 at 23:30