Flash flooding in the Horn of Africa claims over 100 lives, displaces 700,000.
The Horn of Africa faces a devastating crisis as flash floods wreak havoc across Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia. Save the Children reported over 100 casualties, including 16 children, and a staggering 700,000 individuals displaced due to relentless downpours attributed to the El Nino weather phenomenon.
Kenya suffered 46 fatalities, with Somalia and Ethiopia registering 32 and 33 deaths respectively, illustrating the grave toll of the ongoing deluge. The unyielding rains, uncharacteristically intense due to El Nino, exhibit no signs of abating, aggravating an already dire situation.
Vulnerability to climate change has heightened in the Horn of Africa, witnessing frequent and severe extreme weather events. The region emerges from a prolonged drought, exacerbating the devastation caused by the recent heavy flooding. Basic services, including food, healthcare, and clean water access, are severely disrupted, elevating the risk of waterborne diseases such as cholera and measles, particularly for children and families displaced by the flooding.
Humanitarian organizations stress the urgent need for global intervention, anticipating a protracted El Nino phenomenon until at least April 2024. El Nino, known for its worldwide impact, brings both extreme heat and drought to some regions while unleashing heavy rainfall elsewhere.
In previous instances of El Nino, the Horn of Africa witnessed catastrophic floods resulting in thousands of casualties. The historic El Nino event between October 1997 and January 1998 claimed over 6,000 lives across five countries, with Somalia’s Juba River floods alone causing 1,800 deaths. Similarly, the relentless rainfall in East Africa at the close of 2019 led to 265 fatalities and widespread displacement, underscoring the region’s vulnerability to such extreme weather patterns.