Flood-ravaged Kenya on high alert as it braces for first-ever cyclone

Kenyan President William Ruto put the flood-ravaged country on high alert and postponed the reopening of schools indefinitely as the nation braced for its first-ever cyclone.

Torrential rains have lashed East Africa since March and claimed the lives of more than 350 people.

The region is now threatened by a cyclone projected to make landfall at the weekend along its Indian Ocean coast.

"This cyclone named Hidaya, that could hit anytime now, is predicted to cause torrential rain, strong winds and powerful and dangerous waves," Ruto told a press briefing in the capital, Nairobi.

"Our country must act swiftly and decisively to mitigate the devastating impacts of the present crisis and protect life and property."

Schools, which were due to reopen on Monday, will now remain shut indefinitely.

All ministers have been directed to coordinate the evacuation and relocation of all affected Kenyans.

Cyclone Hidaya will peak at gusts of 165 kilometres (100 miles) per hour when it makes landfall in neighbouring Tanzania on Saturday, according to the Climate Prediction and Applications Centre for East African trade bloc IGAD.

Cyclone season in the southwest Indian Ocean normally lasts from November to April, and there are around a dozen storms each year.

So far, around 210 people have died in Kenya from flood-related incidents.


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