100 killed in Somalia floods, over 1 million people displaced

A donkey cart negotiates flood waters caused after the river Shabelle broke its banks in Beletweyne, Somalia, on May 27, 2016.

The death toll from heavy rains and floods in Somalia has risen to 101 with 1 million people displaced and 1.5 million affected nationwide, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said late Wednesday.

In a nationally televised speech, Mohamud said Somalia is facing a humanitarian crisis caused by the climate change-enhanced El Nino that is devastating many parts of the country.

“Our people everywhere in this country have been affected by the climate change-related floods,” he said.

He said the floods have also killed 4,000 livestock and destroyed 140,000 homes.”

Mohamud said that for the last 16 years, the Al-Shabaab group has hindered the people’s ability to farm and harvest and has refused to allow humanitarian organisations to help the people in the areas they control.

He added that with the support of the international community and aid agencies, starvation and famine were averted in 2022 which would have been disastrous for more than 7.7 million people in the country.

At least 34 districts of Somalia have been impacted by heavy rains and floods since October, mostly in the southern areas, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Wednesday in a brief statement.

The south-central state of Hirshabelle and the Southwest and Jubaland states are the most affected areas of the country.

The heavy rainfall in Somalia is expected to impact up to 1.5 million hectares (3.7 million acres) of farmland.

“After suffering its worst drought in four decades, Somalia is now grappling with once-in-a-century floods,” UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said Tuesday on X.

He said the impacts of climate change are “unequal, with the countries least responsible suffering the worst and getting the least climate funds.” “This needs to change,” he added.

As the country is struggling to cope with the floods, the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan for Somalia, which seeks $2.6 billion to assist about 7.6 million people, remains significantly underfunded at 39%, with immediate action demanded to bridge the financial gap.

Somalia has declared a “national humanitarian emergency” due to the floods.

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