- Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Sudan, and Uganda are all experiencing floods.
- Kenya’s president, William Ruto, declared a state of emergency after 70 deaths and more than 36 000 displacements.
- In Ethiopia, still suffering civil war ruin, Tigray and Amhara were hard hit by floods that displaced 700 000.
Going into the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) Summit, the Horn of Africa is experiencing multiple meteorological disasters, including a catastrophic drought in the east and record floods in the west.
El Nino flooding since early November has resulted in fatalities, property destruction, and a growing humanitarian crisis in the region.
This further reminds world leaders of what is at stake, particularly in Africa, a continent that contributes the least greenhouse gas emissions.
The region’s torrential rains impacted mostly Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia. But South Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania are also on the radar, prompting a large-scale humanitarian response.
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As such, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) have launched a R380 million (18 million Swiss franc) emergency appeal.
This grant is critical in assisting with the response to the El Nino-enhanced floods that are still affecting Kenya.
Dr Ahmed Idris, Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross Society, said they were dealing with, in some cases, communities that have been totally wiped out.
“We are dealing with a situation where entire communities have either been submerged or marooned. Roads and other critical infrastructure have been cut off, disrupting the delivery of vital supplies. We need to urgently provide food, clean water, and medical supplies to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe,” he said.
Kenya’s president, William Ruto, proclaimed a state of emergency after the floods killed 70 individuals and forced the relocation of 36 160 households.
The Kenyan cabinet will be meeting on Monday to map a way forward as more rains are expected.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that in Somalia, half a million people had been displaced in numerous towns.
“In Beledweyne, flood waters forced families to move to higher grounds,” the organisation said.
Abdi Abdullahi, the local coordinator for the ICRC in Somalia, said:
People were stranded, and some of them were rescued while on top of trees.
According to the United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in one week, the number of people affected by torrential rains and flooding in Somalia nearly doubled, from 334 800 to 649 000.
Over 500 000 more people have been affected, bringing the total to 1.7 million, an increase from 1.17 million a week ago.
This figure exceeds the figures for planning and preparedness.
Floods and excessive rains have aggravated Somalia’s famine problem. Livelihoods and lives are in jeopardy, with 4.3 million people, or one-quarter of the population, expected to endure crisis-level hunger or worse by the end of this year.
The hardest-hit parts of Ethiopia are Tigray and Amhara, two regions still trying to recover from the negative impacts of the two-year civil war that ended in November 2022.
According to government figures, about 50 people have been recorded dead, while 4 000 cattle have died.
In recent years, South Sudan has become the case study for climate-related stresses such as record-breaking droughts, floods, and extreme heat – the major driver of internal displacement in the global south.
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