The Somali region of Ethiopia is currently grappling with the aftermath of flash floods caused by torrential rains, resulting in the tragic loss of more than 20 lives and the displacement of over 12,000 people, as reported by the regional government on Saturday.
The severe flooding has caused extensive damage to bridges and roads, severely hampering rescue and relief efforts. Livestock, crops, and property have also suffered significant devastation, exacerbating the already dire situation.
The statement further emphasized the urgent need for assistance, as the rising rainfall and forecasted weather patterns indicate an ongoing high risk of flooding in the region.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), eastern Africa had already been predicted to experience above-average rainfall during the October-December period due to the El Nino phenomenon. This naturally occurring event has far-reaching consequences, including intensified heat globally, drought in certain regions, and excessive rainfall in others such as the Somali region of Ethiopia.
Since the start of the monsoon season in Somalia, approximately 405,652 individuals have been affected by floods, resulting in 14 fatalities, as highlighted in OCHA’s situation report. To mitigate further risks, around 47,100 individuals have been forced to relocate to higher grounds. Additionally, these torrential downpours have severed access to vital markets and farmland in certain areas, exacerbating the already challenging circumstances.
The Horn of Africa is recognized as one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change, with extreme weather events becoming increasingly frequent and intense. The devastating impact of this recent flood comes at a time when Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya have already been enduring the most severe drought in the region in four decades.