Somalia – Flood Victims Face Escalating Food Prices and Disease Outbreaks

A recent report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that floods caused by heavy rainfall in Somalia have led to an interruption of humanitarian aid delivery, an escalation of local commodity prices, and an epidemic in water-borne diseases.

An estimated 60,000 people in Somalia have been displaced by floods since the onset of the Deyr rains in late October 2015. Middle Shabelle accounts for the highest number, with more than 11,000 people displaced, mostly in Jowhar, Mahaday and Balcad districts.

Rains Ease

The heavy rain has slowed over the last few days, and the latest forecast from Somalia Land and Water Information Network (SWALIM), which is managed by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) says that “little or no rains are foreseen in the coming three days inside Somalia. However, a few pockets in Bari, Sool and Sanaag in the north and Lower Juba in the south may record moderate rains during the forecast period (23 to 25 October)”.

Flood Damage

However, flood damage continues to cause problems in attempts to reach those affected by the floods. OCHA say: “There is need to urgently repair main lifeline roads, bridges and airstrips. This will ensure supplies can reach the markets to stabilize the escalating food prices and enable humanitarian partners and aid supplies to reach those most in need of assistance.”

Flooding Raises Concerns of Disease Outbreaks

Water-borne diseases, such as Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) and cholera, have spiked in several central regions as a result of the floods.

OCHA say that cholera cases have been confirmed in three known hotspots in Jowhar, Kismayo and Mogadi shu . The most affected areas are Fanole, Farjano and Gulwade neighborhoods. Authorities in Banadir region have also reported an outbreak of diarrh o ea in Mogadishu. Similar reports in Lower Shabelle are being verified.Although the outbreak is under control, the number of cases could increase if flooding persists.

Chlorine and hygiene kits, as well as essential drugs are either already distributed or being delivered to the outbreak-affected communities. Some water wells in affected locations will also be chlorinated for disinfection, according to OCHA.

The full OCHA report on the Somalia flood situation can be found here.