Thousands trapped in Somalia flooding as heavy rains wreak havoc

Somali authorities have declared an emergency after heavy rains triggered floods across the country that have left thousands trapped and many others displaced from their homes.

The heavy rain in the East African country follows several years of drought and successive failed rainy seasons that have triggered a humanitarian crisis. Studies show that the drought was made more likely by the human-induced climate crisis.

At least 10 people have died since flash floods from torrential rains, which are expected to be heavier than normal as El Niño began sweeping through communities last month, the Somali Disaster Management Agency said Sunday, citing the country’s deputy prime minister.

More than 100,000 people have been displaced so far, according to the United Nation’s humanitarian agency (OCHA), which estimates that 2,400 others in villages located along the overflowing Juba River are feared trapped in flood waters in Jubaland, one of the worst affected states.

“In Baardheere (in Jubaland), local authorities are appealing for urgent support for more than 14,000 families that have been cut off from the main town and are unable to replenish their domestic supplies,” OCHA said in a statement Monday.

Other regions such as Hirshabelle, Puntland, Galmudug and South West have also been badly hit by the deadly floods, according to the UN agency.

On Monday, Somalia’s state broadcaster shared aerial imagery of nearly submerged buildings in the South West’s Baidoa district, as officials raced to evacuate stranded families.

South West and Jubaland states are the worst hit by the floods, with over 200,000 people affected in each state, according to OCHA.

The agency added that in Puntland, heavy rains and floods destroyed a camp for internally displaced people and cut off electricity and internet connections in the state’s north Gaalkacyo neighborhood.

Flooding in the Galmudug state also caused the deaths of two teenage girls and a boy who drowned in floodwaters. Similar casualties involving two children were also recorded in South West’s Berdale district.

The flash floods come just months after Somalia marked the end of its lengthiest drought in decades, which killed over 40,000 people, mostly children under five years old, according to UNICEF.

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