Monday October 9, 2023
Flash floods caused by heavy rains on Wednesday have displaced 107,000 people in the Baidoa district in southwestern Somalia, the United Nations humanitarian agency said on Sunday.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said several houses were reportedly inundated, including makeshift shelters hosting over 86,700 internally displaced persons in 136 displacement sites in Baidoa city.
“The rains mark the beginning of the October to December rainy season in Somalia, expected to have above-normal rains and increased flooding due to the influence of the El-Nino conditions in Somalia,” the OCHA said in its latest update. The heavy rains and flooding have come following five seasons of drought that have displaced more than 1.4 million Somalis and killed 3.8 million livestock since mid-2021, according to the United Nations.
The OCHA said the majority of the displaced people have moved to higher ground, closer to their settlements. “Access to the affected areas remains a challenge as some roads are blocked due to the widespread flooding. Critical needs identified include relocation to safe sites, food, water, shelter, and medical assistance,” OCHA said.
The local authorities in Baidoa are preparing a response and have appealed to humanitarian partners and the international community to support the emergency needs, while at the same time providing additional support for ongoing preparedness and response activities, in view of the El Nino projections.
The UN estimates that 1.2 million people and 1.5 million hectares of productive land are at high risk due to flooding in Somalia. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations said on Friday it requires 11.8 million U.S. dollars to ramp up mitigation measures, including mapping out flood-prone areas ahead of a rare “super El Nino” in Somalia.
The FAO said the plan is part of its global anticipatory action and response plan, which targets 25 countries at high risk of El Nino impacts on agricultural livelihoods and food security. The UN food agency said it is rapidly scaling up its early warning and anticipatory action activities, aiming to protect one million people.