Flash floods in central Somalia leave 22 dead and over 450 000 affected

mogadishu somalia flood april 2023

Since the onset of the Gu Rainy Season (April through June) in 2023, flash floods have devastated central Somalia, resulting in 22 fatalities and leading to a mass evacuation of tens of thousands from their homes. The regions most impacted by these floods include the Belet Weyne District in Hirshabelle State and the Baardheere District in Jubaland State.

According to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “Initial estimates indicate that the flash and riverine floods across Somalia have affected at least 460 470 people, of whom nearly 219 000 have been displaced from their homes mainly in flood-prone areas, and 22 killed.”

The floods have left a trail of destruction, inundating homes and farmland, washing away livestock, temporarily closing schools and health facilities, and damaging roads.

The town of Beledweyne, located in the Hiran region, experienced heavy rainfall last week, which led to water flooding homes, and submerging roads and buildings. Residents scrambled to save their possessions and sought refuge, wading through water-filled streets.

The disaster strikes as Somalia grapples with a record drought that has pushed millions to the brink of famine. The nation also continues to battle an ongoing insurgency that has lasted for decades.

Extreme weather events during the rainy seasons frequently affect East and Central Africa. This month, 135 people lost their lives and over 9 000 became homeless following heavy rainfall in Rwanda, which resulted in floods and landslides. Last week, torrential downpours, floods, and landslides in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo claimed more than 400 lives.

References:

1 Somalia: 2023 Flash and Riverine Floods Situation Report No. 1 – UN OCHA – May 14, 2023

2 22 people killed in Somalia floods, says UN – AFP – May 14, 2023

Featured image credit: DiTW (stillshot)

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