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Eastern Africa has been ravaged by catastrophic heavy rains and flash flooding, resulting in a devastating toll on lives and livelihoods. Reports from aid agencies unveiled a grim situation on Monday, where at least 40 lives were lost, and tens of thousands were displaced in the Kenya & Somalia floods.
Somalia, particularly hard-hit, declared a state of emergency as extreme weather claimed the lives of 25 individuals, causing substantial destruction to homes, roads, and bridges. The dire situation in southern Somalia’s Jubaland state trapped an estimated 2,400 residents in the Luuq district, prompting urgent efforts from emergency and rescue workers. The devastation caused by the Kenya & Somalia floods underscores the urgent need for immediate assistance and relief efforts in the affected regions.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs sounded alarms, warning of a high risk of Kenya & Somalia floods along the Juba and Shabelle rivers. They urgently called for the evacuation of individuals living along the entire span of Juba to prevent further tragedies.
Hassan Isse, managing director of the Somalia Disaster Management Agency, informed The Associated Press of swift response plans, including dispatching a flight to Dollow and transporting boats from Kismayo to assist evacuations in Luuq and Baardhere in the wake of the devastating Kenya & Somalia floods.
Isse expressed grave concern about the situation’s escalation in the coming days due to the surge of water from the Ethiopian Highlands, exacerbating the current floods.
Somalia’s struggle with these calamitous rains follows four years of severe drought, which previously pushed the nation perilously close to famine.
In Kenya, the death toll rose to 15 as heavy rains wreaked havoc since Friday, primarily affecting the port city of Mombasa and the northeastern counties of Mandera and Wajir. Flash floods have ravaged 241 acres of farmland and claimed the lives of over a thousand livestock, according to the Kenya Red Cross.
Alarm bells were rung by Kenyan weather forecasters in September, warning of unusually heavy rains during the short rainy season between October and December. However, President William Ruto contradicted these forecasts, indicating that experts had revised their predictions and negated the possibility of devastating El Nino flooding.
The repercussions of these catastrophic weather conditions have also been felt in the Somali region of Ethiopia. Thousands have been compelled to flee their homes, witnessing the destruction of houses and farmlands due to heavy rains and flooding.
The unfolding humanitarian crisis in these East African nations emphasizes the critical need for immediate, coordinated, and effective response efforts to alleviate the suffering of those affected and prevent further loss of life and livelihoods.