Families who have been forced to leave their homes due to extreme flooding in the Horn of Africa.
The heavy rains that have been ongoing led to the floods, which occurred after the longest and most severe drought in history. The effects of this drought are still being experienced by millions in the region.
Some of the most pressing necessities include nourishment, temporary housing, cooking equipment, coverings, uncontaminated water, and sanitation assistance. It is crucial for families residing in flood-prone regions to receive immediate aid in moving to elevated areas.
Harm, devastation, and fatalities by submersion
In Somalia, there have been over 795,000 instances of displacement. Many of these individuals had already been compelled to leave due to conflicts and drought.
“According to UNHCR Spokesperson William Spindler, numerous homes have suffered severe damage or have been completely demolished. In certain areas, individuals are seeking refuge under trees on elevated terrain. Tragically, there have also been cases of drowning reported,” stated Spindler during a press briefing in Geneva.
Over 500,000 individuals have been impacted by flash floods in Ethiopia’s Somali Region, resulting in the loss of at least 20 lives, as reported by officials.
Nearly 40,000 households, including those fleeing the ongoing turmoil in neighboring Somalia, are currently displaced.
A helping hand
Mr. Spindler said 213,000 refugees across five settlements have also suffered. Nearly 1,000 families have lost their shelter, he added, noting that both clean and safe drinking water is scarce. Access to health services has also been impeded.
Despite facing challenges, numerous refugees have made kind donations to assist individuals from the host communities who have also been affected by the severe rainfall. The speaker noted this.
In northeast Kenya, the Dadaab refugee camps have been affected, causing 25,000 people to seek shelter in local schools or nearby communities. This has resulted in overcrowding, as some refugees are also hosting those who have been recently displaced in their homes.
According to Mr. Spindler, the inundated streets have impeded the mobility of individuals, creating challenges for vulnerable populations to obtain necessary resources. This includes difficulties for pregnant women in reaching medical facilities.
An additional 100 families residing in the Kakuma camp in northwest Kenya were also compelled to relocate because of severe soil erosion caused by heavy rainfall.
Loss of livestock and financial resources
According to Mr. Spindler, the flooding has had a severe impact on people’s livelihoods. He cited a specific area in southern Ethiopia where more than 65% of the land is currently submerged.
The speaker stated that more than 1,000 animals have perished and an additional 1,000 hectares of crops have been destroyed in the Somali Region. This puts the already dire food situation at risk of becoming even worse.
The individual also expressed significant worry about hygiene. Numerous shared toilets have been destroyed, leaving individuals vulnerable to contagious illnesses such as cholera. A large number of roads have also been destroyed, resulting in difficulties accessing healthcare and other essential resources.
UN supporting families
The UNHCR and its partners are providing aid to families who have recently been displaced. This includes dignity kits for women and girls. Additionally, households are receiving financial assistance to purchase materials to repair or strengthen their shelters. Sandbags have also been distributed to help protect people from flooding.
The UN organization emphasized the importance of immediate aid from donors to provide both aid and security, and to prevent loss of life as the rainfall persists.