Ethiopia – Dozens Killed in Floods and Landslides

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.”

Somalia

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.

Flood Warnings

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.

2 week rain accumulation in East Africa, to 11 May 2016. Image: NOAA
2 week rain accumulation in East Africa, to 11 May 2016. Image: NOAA

Reporting by Richard Davies, with additional reporting by Abdirashid M. Dahir.

Flood summary

Last updated: July 22, 2016
Event
SNNPR and Oromia Region, May 2016
Date
May 9 to May 20, 2016
Type
Inland flood, Landslide
Cause
Extreme rainfall
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.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.Ethiopian Communication Affairs Minister, Getachew Reda, confirmed on Thursday 12 May 2016, that as many as 100 people have been killed by recent floods and landslides in Oromia and Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR).

Locations

A - Kindo Didaye woreda (district), Wolaita zone, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region
B - Bale zone, Oromia Region

Magnitude

Rainfall level
75 mm in 24 hours
Eyl, Nugaal region - May 9 to May 10, 2016

Damages

Fatalities
41 people
Kindo Didaye, Wolaita zone, SNNPR
Fatalities
9 people
Bale zone, Oromia Region