From drought to extreme rain, parts of Ethiopia are now battling deadly floods and landslides brought by the recent downpours.
Ethiopian news service, Fana, reports that at least 41 people have been killed when the heavy rain triggered a landslide in Kindo Didaye woreda (district), Wolaita zone, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) on 09 May 2016.
Rescue efforts are under way, although access to the area has been hampered by blocked roads and damaged bridges. Quoting a local police commissioner, Fana says that so far, 28 bodies have been recovered from the landslide.
Meanwhile in Bale zone, Oromia Region, floods have killed at least 9 people and caused severe damage to livestock and crops. Fana report that over 1,000 cattle have been killed and 559 hectares of crops damaged.
Ethiopia is struggling with its worst drought in 50 years, but the recent heavy rain may be a case of too much, too late. Floods are worsening the situation for many farmers and drought-affected communities.
After flash floods in April 2016, Mohamed Hassan, Head of Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) operations in the Jigjiga region in Ethiopia, said:
“The rain has led to livestock deaths that in their weakened state are more susceptible to illnesses. For many, this was the last hope they had.”
The recent rain in parts of Ethiopia is also affecting neighbouring Somalia. Heavy rains in Ethiopian highlands caused the Shabelle River to overflow its banks on Saturday, 07 May, 2016, leaving vast stretch of farmland in Middle Shabelle region of southern Somalia under water according to local media.
Flood waters invaded farm fields in the village of Bayahow, approximately 2km from Middle Shabelle regional capital of Jowhar. Citing local sources, Somali news site reported that flooding wiped out crops in the affected village.
Fears of imminent floods have also gripped residents of a string of villages situated in potential flood zones along the Shabelle River.
A district Commissioner identified as Aweys Hassan Adan, told Mogadishu-based radio station that residents in Maandheere, Tugaarey, Maagey, Daymo Same, and Halgan villages are at risk of flooding as levels of Shabelle continue to increase drastically.
Thre has also been significant rainfall in parts of the country. Hiran regional district of Mataban for instance recorded 115mm of rain on 03 May 2016. Eyl station along the coast of Nugaal region recorded 75mm of rain between 09 and 10 May.
Somalia Water and Land Information Management Network (SWALIM) warned on 10 May:
“There is a high risk of flash floods in the coastal areas of Bari and Nugaal regions. The river levels remain high in both Juba and Shabelle, with high risk of flooding along the Shabelle; while in Middle and Lower Juba the risk of flooding is moderate”.
Heavy Rain and Flooding Across East Africa
It is a similar story for several East African countries, who are all battling with the effects of heavy rain. Around 50 people were killed in a landslide in Rwanda between 07 and 08 May. A residential building in Nairobi, Kenya, collapsed on 29 April after heavy rain and flooding. By 05 May the death toll had risen to at least 25 people.
Reporting by Richard Davies, with additional reporting by Abdirashid M. Dahir.
B - Bale zone, Oromia Region
Eyl, Nugaal region - May 9 to May 10, 2016
Kindo Didaye, Wolaita zone, SNNPR
Bale zone, Oromia Region