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flooding in somalia

Hundreds of thousands displaced by Somalia flooding

More than 330,000 people have been displaced from their homes after severe flooding struck Somalia, Islamic Relief says.

Some areas of the country have reportedly received more rainfall in the past week than they normally do in the entire October-December rainy season. At least 28 people have been killed and more than 1.1 million people are affected, with the poorest hit hardest of all.

Hundreds of thousands of those affected are living in aid camps, where they previously fled to escape the horrific drought that has ravaged Somalia over the last three years. Now the floods have destroyed many shelters, leaving vulnerable families exposed to the harsh wind and ongoing rain. Roads have also been cut off, leaving people without access to adequate food.

Several regions across southern and central Somalia are affected, including major cities like Baidoa and Bardere. The exceptionally heavy rainfall is believed to be driven in part by the El Nino effect where temperature changes in areas of the Pacific Ocean impact rainfall and climates, and is expected to last into January, so the floods may continue to get worse.

Aliow Mohamed, Islamic Relief’s country director in Somalia, said:

It feels like the whole country is flooding. People have suffered so much from drought and now they are suffering from flooding. This quick shift demonstrates the increasing volatility of our climate and how climate-related crises affect the poorest people most of all.

“In the camps where we work, people have lost their homes and are exposed to the wind and rain. Many don’t have food either so giving these people sustenance and shelter is going to be vital in the days ahead as this flooding continues. Latrines in the camps have also been destroyed and there is standing stagnant water, creating major concerns about the spread of malaria and water borne diseases.”

Islamic Relief offices in southwest Somalia have also been flooded, and the floods have cut off many roads, limiting the ability of aid agencies to respond.

Islamic Relief is currently distributing food and cash in camps in Baidoa, to help affected families get food to eat. The organisation is carrying out further needs assessments and plans to mount a larger response.

Due to the worst drought to hit Somalia in decades, an estimated 8.5 million people in the country are in need of humanitarian aid and 1.5 million children are acutely malnourished. In the short term the floods are likely to further worsen food insecurity by killing livestock and destroying crops.

Aliow Mohamed said:

I think climate adaptation, weather forecasting and community preparedness are going to be key for dealing with such dramatic climatic shifts as we’re seeing today in Somalia. At the upcoming COP28 climate conference we must demand that the wealthiest and highest polluting countries provide more funds to enable this.

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