Ethiopia – 300,000 Displaced by Floods, Says UN

Heavy rain and flooding continue in Ethiopia, with over 500,000 people affected and around 300,000 displaced since July.

Evacuations after floods in Afar region, Ethiopia September 2020. Photo: OCHA Ethiopia

Unusually heavy Kiremt season (June to September) rainfall triggered flooding in the country from late July. By early August the UN reported 30,000 people had been displaced, with many of them in the Afar region after the overflow of Awash River. The regions of Gambella, Oromia, SNNP and later Amhara were also affected.

In a report of 06 September, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said “heavy summer season (June-September) rains continue to cause flooding in many parts of the country. Some 500,000 people were so far affected, including some 300,000 displaced.”

On 01 September the Awash River once again broke its banks, flooding areas in Amibara and Awash Fentale woredas of Afar region. The Government deployed a military helicopter to evacuate flood victims. Local reports said at least 5 people died.

OCHA also said that releases from the Koka and Kesem dams are causing flood risk in downstream communities. The country’s National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC), in collaboration with Oromia and Afar regions, is working to evacuate people who live in high-risk areas.

Further heavy rainfall was reported in the northern Amhara Region in the last few days, with 125mm recorded in 24 hours to 09 September in Bhir Dar, and 62 mm in Gondar the following day. More heavy rainfall is expected.

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