At least 50 lives have already been claimed in Somalia by heavy torrential rains, which at the same time drove almost 700,000 people from their homes. This was announced on Monday by Somalia’s Disaster Management Authority, which also warned that continued rains could cause further devastating floods, writes AFP.

Somalia, floods

Torrential rains in the Somali metropolis Mogadishu 20.11.2023.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Saturday that the number of people displaced by torrential rains and flooding in East Africa’s Somalia had “almost doubled” in a week. The natural disaster has already affected approximately 1.7 million local residents.

“In addition, roads, bridges and airport runways were damaged in several areas (Somalia), affecting the movement of people and supplies and leading to an increase in prices of essential commodities,” OCHA explained.

Since the beginning of November, Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia have been plagued by incessant downpours related to the El Niño climate phenomenon. At the same time, the Horn of Africa is among the regions most threatened by the climate crisis. Extreme weather fluctuations appear more and more frequently and intensively. Last year, for example, it was hit by a catastrophic drought.

As a result of flooding and displacement, hundreds of thousands of people in the region are now without proper access to food, water or healthcare. “With that comes the real risk of water-borne diseases, including cholera and measles,” said Xavier Joubert, director of Save the Children in Ethiopia.

Humanitarian groups warn that the situation in the Horn of Africa will worsen. El Niño is expected to persist until at least April 2024.

Floods in the countries of the Horn of Africa caused by El Niño claimed more than 6,000 lives from October 1997 to January 1998. At least 1,800 people died then in Somalia, where the Djuba River overflowed.

At the end of 2019, during two months of incessant rains, 265 people died in East Africa and tens of thousands were forced to leave their homes.