Catastrophic Floods Engulf Somalia Following Drought, Trigger Emergency Response

Somalia is grappling with a severe flood emergency, which has claimed lives and left thousands stranded or displaced. These floods come on the heels of persistent drought conditions, underscoring the extreme weather patterns intensified by climate change.

by Fatima Abass

Somalia is currently facing an extreme weather emergency as massive flooding caused by recent heavy rainfall has resulted in widespread disaster across the nation. The sudden shift from drought conditions to floods underscores the severity of climate-related impacts in the region.

In what has been a swift response to the crisis, Somali government officials have announced an urgent need for international aid following the devastating floods that have ensnared thousands in the rising waters and forced many from their homes.

This catastrophic weather event follows on the tail of prolonged drought, which had afflicted the East African country for several years, devastating local communities and contributing to a significant humanitarian emergency. The ongoing climate crisis, driven by human activities, is believed to have exacerbated the drought conditions, setting the stage for the current flooding.

The Somali Disaster Management Agency, speaking through the deputy prime minister, confirmed the death of at least ten individuals due to the flash floods initiated by the El Niño weather phenomenon. Reports from last month indicate a worrying escalation in flood intensity, affecting livelihoods and safety.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the floods have displaced over 100,000 people. In the face of such overwhelming adversity, isolated villages along the swollen Juba River are especially vulnerable, with residents trapped by the deluge in Jubaland – one of the hardest-hit regions.

Urgent appeals have been made by local authorities in Baardheere, Jubaland, where over 14,000 families find themselves isolated from essential resources, cut off from adjacent towns by the inundation.

OCHA’s reports also paint a grim picture of the situation in other Somali states such as Hirshabelle, Puntland, Galmudug, and South West, all suffering from the flooding’s deadly consequences.

Images broadcast by Somalia’s state media showed vast stretches of the Baidoa district submerged, with emergency operations underway to rescue those stranded by the water’s rapid rise. The states of South West and Jubaland are bearing the brunt of the disaster, with the flood’s impact extending to over 400,000 people across these two regions alone.

The crisis is further compounded in Puntland, where the deluge has razed an internally displaced persons’ camp, cutting off crucial services like electricity and the internet in the northern region of Gaalkacyo.

In a tragic note, the flooding has already claimed the lives of young victims, including two teenage girls and a boy in Galmudug, as well as two children in the South West’s Berdale district, who drowned amidst the floodwaters.

This flood emergency emerges just as the country was beginning to recover from its worst drought in recent history, a tragedy that had resulted in the loss of over 40,000 lives, with children under five bearing the greatest burden of fatalities, as reported by UNICEF. The stark contrast between drought and flood conditions in Somalia highlights the urgent need for climate resilience and swift humanitarian aid to address both the immediate and long-term impacts of such extreme weather events.

(Associated Medias | FAD) – All rights reserved.