File Photo: AP

Nairobi - Flash floods have killed at least 48 people and affected more than 144,000 people across Kenya, destroying key infrastructure and livelihoods in the East African nation, the United Nations said on Thursday.  

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) which cited figures from the Kenya Red Cross Society said the rains have driven flash floods, mudslides and landslides in at least 25 counties, destroying key infrastructure across the country. 

"The government's National Disaster Operation Centre (NDOC) also confirmed that at least 17,000 people have been displaced and 48 died due to the floods," OCHA said in its latest update on floods. 

With the current weather forecasts, which predict heavy rains until the end of November, the NDOC expects these numbers to rise, including affecting 200,000 refugees living in settlements in Dadaab in northeast Kenya. 

According to the report, sharp increases on food and fuel prices due to shortages have been reported in Mandera, parts of Wajir and Marsabit counties in northern Kenya, hindering access to food for the most vulnerable. 

Video: Kim Kay/African News Agency

The heavy rains follow a period of prolonged drought which saw the number of severely food insecure people in Kenya rise to 3.1 million. The destruction of crucial livelihoods, including an undetermined acreage of farmland and livestock, according to NDOC, will likely heavily impact the food security situation across the country. 

"Although the government is still carrying out assessments to determine the extension of damages, there are already several reports of key infrastructure, including roads, bridges, schools and health facilities, destroyed in multiple locations," said the UN agency.

It said roads have been cut off in at least eight counties, paralysing transport and hampering humanitarian assistance in Mandera, Wajir, Marsabit, Turkana, Garissa, Lamu, Kwale and Mombasa. 

Xinhua