Horn of Africa: More than two million people displaced by rain and floods

Published On: December 1, 2023

According to a AFP report based on government and UN figures, across the Horn of Africa an estimate of over two million people have been forced from their homes by torrential rains and the following floods.

According to a AFP report based on government and UN figures, across the Horn of Africa an estimate of over two million people have been forced from their homes by torrential rains and the following floods.

In Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia about 300 people have lost their lives as another devastating climate disaster grapples the regions.

The heavy rainfall is connected to the El Niño weather pattern, and struck just as the region emerges from the worst drought in 40 years, and drove millions into hunger.

Once in a century flooding

The charity Against Hunger wrote in a statement, “It’s a dire situation, regions that were struggling to recover from the economic and environmental impacts of prolonged drought are now doubly burdened with flooding.”

According to a joint statement issued by the United Nations and Somali the flooding has cost the lives of more than 100 people, and displaced more than one million.

Phys: Authorities in Mogadishu declared a state of emergency earlier this month over what the United Nations has described as “once in a century” flooding, and have warned against the proliferation of disease.

The deluge has engulfed homes and farmland and left many communities marooned, with roads and bridges damaged and hospitals and schools closed.

An estimated 1.5 million children under the age of five are facing acute malnutrition over the period between August this year and July 2024, the joint UN-Somali statement warned.

UN envoy George Conway, “Recurrent climate shocks, widespread insecurity and rampant poverty have pushed the people of Somalia to breaking point.”

The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsula and geopolitical region in East Africa. Located on the easternmost part of the African mainland, it is the fourth largest peninsula in the world. It is composed of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Djibouti; broader definitions also include parts or all of Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, and Uganda. The term Greater Horn Region (GHR) can additionally include Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania. It lies along the southern boundary of the Red Sea and extends hundreds of kilometres into the Guardafui Channel, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean and shares a maritime border with the Arabian Peninsula of Western Asia.

While extreme weather events are occurring with increased frequency and intensity, the Horn of Africa is one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change—even though the continent’s contribution to global carbon emissions is a fraction of the total.

The latest disaster has exacerbated a deep humanitarian crisis in Somalia, one of the poorest countries on the planet that has also been battling a bloody Islamist insurgency for the past decade and a half.

Phys: Floodwaters in Somalia could swamp more than 1.5 million hectares (3.7 million acres) of farmland in December.

In a move that could help alleviate the situation for some, the Somalia government said it had received 25,000 tonnes of grain from Russia that would be distributed urgently to flood-affected people, with another 25,000 tonnes expected later in December.

While the country narrowly avoided famine thanks to humanitarian aid, the UN’s World Food Programme warned earlier this month that a quarter of its population –- 4.3 million people –- are forecast to face crisis-level hunger by the end of the year.

Cholera outbreak

Phys: In neighboring Kenya, the interior ministry said Thursday the death toll from the flood disaster had risen to 136, with more than 460,000 people displaced.

Another 57 people have perished in Ethiopia and more than 600,000 have been displaced, according to the UN’s humanitarian response agency OCHA.

In one of the hardest hit areas, the Somali region in eastern Ethiopia, cholera has claimed the lives of at least 23 people, with a total of 772 confirmed cases, Save the Children said Thursday.

“The cholera outbreak in Ethiopia and across the Horn of Africa could spiral out of control if swift action isn’t taken by government and donors to provide clean drinking water and sanitation facilities for communities forced out of their homes by floodwaters,” it warned.

About the Author: Climate State
Climate State
Climate State covers the broad spectrum of climate change, and the solutions, since 2011 with the focus on the sciences. Climate State – we endorse data, facts, empirical evidence.
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