Friday, June 14, 2024
NewsFlooding poses serious threat in nine regional states as climate fluctuations take...

Flooding poses serious threat in nine regional states as climate fluctuations take toll on East Africa

Aid agencies warn close to two million Ethiopians at risk

Flooding due to climate fluctuations have led to the displacement of more than 600,000 people in East Africa, and international watchdogs warn that further heavy rains could pose serious threats in nine Ethiopian regional states in the coming weeks.

Harsh weather conditions brought on by El Nino have affected at least a quarter of a million people in neighboring Kenya, with close to 200,000 displaced as a result of flooding. Another 179,000 people in Burundi, 127,000 in Somalia, and 126,000 in Tanzania have also been affected, according to the UN.

A report released by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) last week states the rainy season set to last until May in parts of the region has already had devastating effects, and warns the situation could soon grow worse.

“Heavy rains and floods have also damaged infrastructure, including homes and schools, and destroyed crops and farmlands,” reads the El Nino impact snapshot report.

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The agency’s Ethiopia situation report for April 2024 forecasts that at least nine of Ethiopia’s regional states are at risk of further flooding during the Belg rainy season set to last until the end of the month. It warns that over 1.2 million people in the Somali Regional State alone are vulnerable to the effects of flooding, and estimates that more than 770,000 will be displaced as a result of heavy rains.

The four regions in the country’s south – Sidama, South Ethiopia, Central Ethiopia, and South West Ethiopia – are also expected to see some 145,000 residents affected, according to the report.

UNOCHA cautions that a further 421,000 people in parts of Oromia, 83,000 in Afar, 45,000 in Amhara, and 4,000 in Tigray could also face flooding.

On May 8, 2024, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), expressed concerns that weeks of heavy rainfall and flooding have caused massive displacement in six countries including Ethiopia. 

The IOM report revealed that the organization is providing support to over 70,000 flood-struck residents in the Somali and Oromia regions. The assistance includes the provision of emergency shelters, essential items, and cash assistance.

The Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) has also warned of the impending danger relating to heavy rainfall in several of its eight member nations.

IGAD’s weather forecast report states that “very heavy rainfall is expected in central to eastern Ethiopia as well as central and north-western Somalia” and predicts it will lead to flooding in flood-prone areas.

Flooding claimed the lives of at least four people in Addis Ababa two weeks ago, while parts of the country’s east, including Dire Dawa and its environs, have also faced flash floods in recent weeks.

At least 238 people are thought to have died in the heavy floods affecting two-thirds of Kenya’s 47 counties. A shortage of potable water in the country and the closure of several health facilities have also led to renewed fears over water-borne diseases, with at least 44 cases of cholera reported in the last few days.

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