The recent torrential rains in the Horn of Africa have led to devastating floods, resulting in a staggering toll: 111 people, including 16 children, have tragically lost their lives, while 700,000 individuals have been displaced, according to Save the Children, an NGO.
The region, encompassing Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, has faced intensified rainfall caused by the El Niño climatic phenomenon. In Kenya, heavy rainfall has affected both the northern counties and the capital, Nairobi, causing widespread flooding. Since the onset of the rainy season less than a month ago, these floods have displaced an estimated 36,000 people and claimed the lives of 46 individuals.
Save the Children’s statement highlighted that Somalia witnessed the loss of 32 lives, while Ethiopia mourned 33 fatalities due to the floods.
The NGO has urged the international community to take immediate action in response to the significant displacement witnessed in all three affected countries.
The Horn of Africa remains highly susceptible to climate change, with increased occurrences of extreme weather events that wreak havoc on the region. The area had previously experienced severe droughts since late 2020, regarded as the worst in 40 years.
El Niño, known for its climate-altering impact, brings about rising temperatures and fluctuating weather conditions globally, contributing to droughts in some areas while inducing heavy rainfall in others. Forecasts indicate that this phenomenon will persist until April.
Past occurrences of El Niño have caused significant havoc in East Africa. For instance, between October 1997 and January 1998, extensive flooding resulting from El Niño’s torrential rains claimed the lives of over 6,000 individuals across five countries in the region.
Similarly, by the end of 2019, continuous heavy rainfall over two months led to the loss of at least 265 lives, displacing tens of thousands in various East African countries, including Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.