At least 21 killed by flash floods in Somalia: UN

Xinhua , Monday 3 Apr 2023

Flash floods caused by heavy rains killed at least 21 people, displaced over 100,000 more and destroyed property in the past two weeks in southern Somalia, the United Nations humanitarian agency said on Monday.

Somalia flood
Several villages were flooded in Afgooye district, Lower Shabelle, Somalia. Photo: UN-OCHA


The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the lives were lost in the worst affected Bardhere district, Gedo region which has experienced the heaviest rainfall in recent days.

"The floods also destroyed six health facilities, 200 latrines, and four schools," OCHA said in its latest update on flash floods in Somalia.

It said more than 1,000 hectares of farmland have been swamped and learning has been disrupted for over 3,000 children.

The flooding came at a time when Somalia has been experiencing severe drought, leaving more than 8.25 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

According to OCHA, an inter-agency assessment by partners and authorities in Bardhere found that more than 13,000 families (about 78,000 people) have been affected, with shelters of 8,945 families (about 53,600 people) damaged or destroyed.

It said moderate to heavy rains in the Ethiopian highlands are the main cause for the increasing levels of the Shabelle and Juba rivers.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Somalia Water and Land Information Management (FAO-SWALIM), the sharp increase in the river levels is a concern for flood-prone areas.

The heavy rains and flooding have come following five seasons of drought that has displaced more than 1.4 million Somalis and killed 3.8 million livestock since mid-2021, the UN agency said.

It said while the rains and river waters will bring some relief to drought-affected communities, the protracted nature of the drought and projections, which show a 50 percent likelihood that the current April to June gu rainy season will be below normal with warmer than normal surface temperatures over much of the country, mean drought impacts will continue to be felt. 

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