Somalia – Government Appeals for Aid as 500,000 Affected by Floods

Over half a million people have now been affected by the ongoing floods in Somalia. With homes destroyed and crops devastated, flood-hit communities are in desperate need of assistance, say the UN.

Heavy rains in Somalia and the Ethiopian highlands caused the Shabelle and Juba Rivers to overflow. Flooding has now affected over half a million people in Somalia, of whom 370,000 are displaced from their homes, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Flooding began around 21 October and has destroyed farmland and infrastructure and devastated livelihoods in some of the worst hit areas. At least 17 people have died, roads and homes destroyed, and about 10,000 hectares of crops flooded.

The UN said, “Entire reaches of the two rivers have seen high water levels, resulting in flooding in Hirshabelle, Jubaland and South West states. Flash flooding was also reported in Banadir region, Jowhar, Ceel Cade and Jamame, and some locations in South West State. The worst affected area is Belet Weyne, where overflow from the Shabelle river has displaced 231,000 people from their homes.”

Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM) said on 26 November that river levels along the Shabelle remain high and are anticipated to remain so in the coming week. There remains a moderate risk of flooding along the river. Observed river levels along the Juba continued to drop and are currently within the normal at this time of the year.

Flood Response Plan

The floods came at a time that 4.8 million Somalis were already in desperate need of assistance due, in part, to climate-related cycles of drought and flood.

The Federal Government of Somalia and the humanitarian community have launched a Flood Response Plan to seek immediate support for those people affected by flooding across the country. The plan calls for US$72.5 million to implement life-saving activities from November 2019 to January 2020.

“The Government of Somalia is leading the humanitarian response efforts through the inter-ministerial committee,” said Hamza Said Hamza, the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management.

“The efforts of the national actors and international partners including UN and NGOs are important and well appreciated. But the needs of the affected communities are really huge in regard to shelter, clean water, food, health and protection. That is why we are issuing this plan.”

Flash Floods in Somaliland and Mogadishu

SWALIM also reported a heavy downpour from 22 to 26 November 2019 that led to flash floods in Erigavo and Zeylac districts in Somaliland which saw displacement of several households and destruction of property. Unusually heavy rain was also reported in the neighbouring country of Djibouti around this time. At least 9 people died in flash floods in Djibouti city.

Parts of Mogadishu were also flooded following a heavy downpour in the night of 25 November where 78mm of rainfall was recorded. Many stations in Puntland also recorded heavy rains during the last week which led to flash floods.

Featured image: File photo for illustration, Photo copyright: Maryama Dayib