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Rains Close Kenya’s Main Highway

January 18, 1998

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) _ Floods that have plagued Kenya for months, leaving dozens dead, forced the closure of a highway connecting the important port city of Mombasa with eastern and central Africa, police said Saturday.

The rising waters Kambu River caused by heavy rains damaged a key bridge and washed away parts of the road, said police spokesman Peter Kimanthi.

The port serves Kenya and nearby nations. The highway was the only road connecting Mobassa and the capital, Nairobi.

The Kenya Association of Manufacturers called for emergency action to fix the road, saying four months of heavy rains were damaging the country’s economy.

At least 76 people have drowned countrywide since October, when the frequent heavy downpours began. Kimanthi said the death toll might be higher, but information was sketchy because parts of the country were in accessible due to the flooding.

Heavy rains have been attributed to the El Nino weather phenomenon. Meteorologists have recorded rainfalls at 500 percent above normal in the region, and predicted rains will continue up to the end of February.

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