Flooding in Eastern Africa has now affected over 2.8 million, according to a report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Unusually heavy rain since October has triggered flooding and landslides. OCHA said more than 280 people have lost their lives. Across the region, homes, infrastructure and livelihoods have been destroyed and damaged in the hardest-hit areas, and the risk of communicable diseases—including cholera—is rising.
The heavy rain has primarily been driven by the positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), according to OCHA.
As many as 160,000 people in 31 counties have been affected by flooding and landslides in Kenya, where the annual short rains—which ordinarily last from October to December—have been exceptionally heavy. At least 132 people have reportedly died, including 72 who were killed by a landslide which buried their homes in West Pokot County. Over 50 people have also died in floods in Tanzania.
In Djibouti, the equivalent of two years’ rainfall fell in one day, causing flash floods that have affected up to 250,000 people, including 9 people killed.
Flooding in Somalia has affected 547,000 people, including an estimated 370,000 who have been displaced and 17 killed.
Over 900,00 people have been affected by floods in South Sudan since June. Flooding has submerged entire communities, destroyed or rendered inaccessible basic services and markets, and caused crop losses which will result in an early start of the lean season in January. In neighbouring Sudan, more than 420,000 people were affected by floods from August to October, during which 78 people died and 49,500 homes were destroyed.
In Ethiopia, about 570,000 people have been affected, including more than 200,000 displaced, and rains have negatively affected the harvest season.
In Burundi, 3,100 people were affected by torrential rains in Munyinga province. More recently at least 26 people have died after heavy rain triggered a landslide in Cibitoke province.
Meanwhile in Uganda, flooding and landslides have impacted at least 12 districts, including Bundibugyo District, where more than 4,000 people were affected, and Bududa district, where dozens are feared missing after landslides.
Although the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is expected to diminish in the weeks ahead, heavy rains are likely to persist into December and to intensify in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
OCHA said “in many areas, the floods are coming on the back of consecutive droughts, while in others people impacted by the floods are also suffering from conflict and violence. As families struggle to cope with these compounding and complex shocks, there is a high risk of their adopting negative coping mechanisms, including school drop-out and early marriage.”