People clean up a road after landslides caused massive destruction of infrastructure in West Pokot County, Kenya, on Nov. 23, 2019. Kenyan officials on Saturday confirmed that 37 people had died as a result of landslides that hit northwestern county of West Pokot following heavy downpour on Friday night, according to local media. (Photo by Robert Manyara/Xinhua)
NAIROBI, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan officials on Saturday confirmed that 37 people had died as a result of landslides that hit northwestern county of West Pokot following heavy downpour on Friday night, according to local media.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta sent condolences to the bereaved families in a statement, assuring that every missing person will be accounted for and measures put in place to prevent further loss of life.
Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government of Kenya Fred Matiang'i said that rescue efforts were ongoing in the villages that were hit by massive landslides.
"Rescue and recovery efforts are being carried out by our security team and humanitarian agencies," said Matiang'i, adding that the government has deployed military and police choppers to boost recovery efforts at the scene.
He said that harsh weather had earlier slowed down search and rescue for landslide victims, adding that an assessment on the magnitude of damage caused by the disaster was a priority.
The landslides caused a humanitarian crisis in the affected villages in West Pokot County that neighbors Uganda and South Sudan.
Local media reported that the landslides also caused massive destruction of infrastructure including roads and bridges, hampering the rescue work.
Kenya Red Cross had deployed personnel to assist in the rescue effort. "We continue to assess the possibility of more landslides occurring in other nearby villages as the rains continue to pound the area." it tweeted.