updated 12/11/2006 12:53:10 PM ET 2006-12-11T17:53:10

The Kenyan Red Cross on Monday appealed for $21.9 million in international aid to assist more than half a million victims of floods that have killed some 114 people across the east African nation.

In the region’s worst floods for decades, several hundred people are believed to have died, and more than 1 million have been uprooted across Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Rwanda.

“If the prediction of the weatherman is anything to go by, the floods will persist,” Abbas Gullet, secretary-general of the Kenya Red Cross, said at a news conference, adding that the unseasonal rains may keep falling until early January.

The organization said 563,000 Kenyans were badly affected by the floods, with more than 315,000 of those cut off by destroyed roads and bridges.

Malaria cases appeared to be rising and there is a high risk of water-borne diseases such as cholera because of the hot temperatures coupled with flood waters, Gullet said.

After initially flooding Kenya’s remote north and coastal zones in the east, the rainfall has spread west in recent days, destroying dykes on the river Nyando and causing havoc to property and farm land, the Red Cross said.

“The major areas of intervention have been in the area of food and shelter, the area of non-food items and the area of health, water and sanitation,” Gullet added.

The Red Cross said funds were needed for water purification tablets, emergency water supplies, latrines and provision of seeds and tools in areas where most have been washed away.

Part of the funds the organization hopes will come from the international community would also be used for relief distribution.

The Kenyan government has so far resisted public pressure to declare the floods a national disaster.

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