Jubaland state of Somalia hit by the worst floods in a decade

Early rainy season in Somalia triggers deadly flash floods, leaving 20 people dead

At least 20 people have died in flash floods that hit Somalia’s Bardhere district last week, causing massive damage to infrastructure and forcing thousands to seek safer ground. The district is located on the Jubba River in the Jubaland State of Somalia. The rains mark the early start of the country’s rainy season, providing relief to areas of the country experiencing the worst drought in four decades.

In the town of Baardhere, 20 people were killed, including three members of the same family, according to district commissioner Mohamed Weli Yusuf. Most of the casualties occurred when victims became trapped on a bridge that was swept away by the floods. Rescuing them proved difficult due to the time of the incident and the town’s limited resources.

The rains mark the early start of the April-June rainy season, providing relief to areas of the country experiencing the worst drought in four decades.

Heavy rain in the Ethiopian Highlands has also increased river levels in Somalia, the UN said.

The Jubba River at Baardheere jumped from around 4 meters (13.1 feet) to 8.78 meters (28.8 feet) on March 24, 2023, with the danger level being around 8.10 meters (26.6 feet).

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The Somali Disaster Management Agency (SoDMA) said in a statement on March 25 that this is the worst flood to hit the area in nearly a decade.

Hundreds of homes have been damaged, a bridge destroyed, food storages swept away, and acres of food crops wiped out, impacting local communities. Approximately 8 000 residents in two camps for Internally Displaced People (IDP) were affected.

Thousands of people in the Bardhere district are now in urgent need of support, according to SoDMA. Two planes carrying relief supplies, including food, medicines, and clothes, have been sent to the affected communities.

The UN’s humanitarian response agency OCHA has warned of the risk of an increase in diseases such as cholera as living conditions are likely to deteriorate. The World Health Organization also warned earlier this month that nearly 100 000 people in Somalia were facing catastrophic levels of hunger due to the region’s worst drought in four decades.

Five consecutive failed rainy seasons across parts of Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia have killed millions of livestock, destroyed crops, and forced over one million people from their homes in search of food and water. While famine thresholds have not been reached, the United Nations estimates that more than half of Somalia’s population will need humanitarian assistance this year.

References:

1 14 perish in Somalia flash floods – AFP – March 25, 2023

2 Somalia – 20 Killed in Jubaland Flash Floods – FloodList – March 26, 2023

Featured image credit: TRT (stillshot)

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