Mogadishu, Nov 5 – Tragic flash and riverine floods triggered by heavy rains have taken the lives of at least 14 people in Somalia, according to the United Nations humanitarian agency. The floods have severely impacted over 405,652 individuals, with the majority of casualties occurring in four federal member states.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) revealed that while most affected individuals remain within their settlements, approximately 47,000 people have relocated to higher ground in a bid to escape the looming threat of flooding.
The situation has worsened, with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Somalia Water and Land Information Management (FAO-SWALIM) warning of a high risk of riverine flooding along the entire stretch of the Juba River, particularly in the Gedo region of southern Somalia. Flash flooding is also a growing concern in low-lying areas in Bakool regions of southwestern Somalia.
FAO-SWALIM highlighted a significant increase in both rainfall amount and intensity in the Gedo region and the Ethiopian highlands.
These devastating floods come on the heels of the worst drought Somalia has witnessed in four decades, with five consecutive rainy seasons failing. This drought has severely affected livestock and crops, pushing the country to the brink of famine.
Humanitarian agencies assert that these floods are the latest manifestation of a series of extreme weather events in recent years that have struck Somalia. Communities in the region find themselves at the forefront of the global climate crisis.
The United Nations forecasts extremely heavy rainfall over the Gedo, Lower Juba, Hiran, and Togdheer regions of southern and central Somalia for the period of Nov. 1-7. Moreover, moderate to heavy rainfall is expected in several other parts of the country, except for the Bari region and coastal areas, where lighter rains are anticipated.
OCHA reported that approximately 268,000 people, primarily displaced individuals, have been affected in the South West, and an additional 90,000 in Jubaland states. The floods have resulted in disrupted access to markets and farms, with more than 4,000 hectares of farmland inundated in the Gedo region, impacting over 6,000 farmers.