Tuesday February 20, 2024

UN ramps up evacuation plans as floods affected Somalis hits 700,000

Published : 07 Nov 2023, 02:03

  DF News Desk
People relax at the seaside in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Sept. 12, 2023. File Photo: Xinhua.

The United Nations humanitarian agency on Monday called for the activation of evacuation plans amid a high risk of riverine flooding along the Juba and Shabelle rivers, reported Xinhua.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated that more than 706,100 people are temporarily affected, with more than 113,690 temporarily displaced from their homes as riverine flooding caused by heavy rains continues to devastate several parts of Somalia.

"Up to 400 families (2,400 people) are believed to be trapped by floods in Luuq and efforts are ongoing to urgently evacuate them," OCHA said in its latest Flash Floods Update released in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

The raging floods have caused the deaths of 14 people in the country, according to the UN agency.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)'s Somalia Water and Land Information Management (FAO-SWALIM) has warned of a high risk of riverine flooding along the Juba and Shabelle rivers and warned people living along the entire stretch of the Juba River to identify safe routes to higher ground.

Further flooding is expected across Somalia, which is estimated to impact 1.2 million people who reside in riverine areas.

This adds to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Somalia where more than 3.7 million people are experiencing extreme hunger and the number is expected to increase to 4.3 million by December in part due to the impact of flooding caused by the ongoing heavy rains, according to aid agencies.

Somalia on Sunday declared an emergency in areas where torrential Deyr (October to December) rains have triggered floods, according to the Somalia Disaster Management Agency (SoDMA).

"Humanitarian partners and the authorities are working to respond to the evolving situation," OCHA said, noting that federal authorities have called on the Somali community, especially the business community, to support affected people.

The floods come after the worst drought in four decades following five failed rainy seasons, which has decimated livestock and crops, pushing the country to the brink of famine.

According to humanitarian agencies, the floods are the latest in a series of extreme weather events in recent years to hit Somalia, where communities find themselves at the sharp end of the global climate crisis.