At least 23 people have died as a result of the first torrential rains of the rainy season in Somalia, according to the latest balance sheet provided by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which has raised to nearly 100 000 those affected by the floods.
The agency has indicated that ”three weeks after the early onset of the Gu rains — which usually take place between April and June — in Somalia, nearly 100 000 people have been affected by torrential rains and floods in many areas”, before specifying that 21 deaths have been recorded in the district of Bardhere, in the region of Jubaland.
Thus, he detailed that among the fatalities there are six children and stressed that a total of 78 000 affected people reside in Bardhere, where the homes of about 9 000 families have also been destroyed or damaged.
The floods have also destroyed six health facilities, 200 latrines and four schools,” he said, while detailing that ”more than a thousand hectares” of countryside have been flooded.
The OCHA specified that in the regions of Togdheer and Awdal (north) two people have died because of the floods, before asserting that ”the moderate and heavy rains in the highlands of Ethiopia are the main cause of the increase of the flow in the rivers Shabelle and Yuba”. The risk of flooding on the Yuba River is high this week,” the agency warned
On the other hand, it has stressed that the rains and floods come after five seasons of drought that have displaced more than 1.4 million people and killed 3.8 million head of livestock since mid-2021.
”While the rains and river waters will give some relief to drought-affected communities, the elongated nature of the drought and projections show a 50 percent chance of below normal Gu rains.”
The Gu, in its more moderate version, is an essential rainy season for Somali farmers and herders as it is the main means of replenishing crops and pasture for the dry months, but according to UN experts, the country is set to experience its sixth consecutive season of below-average rainfall, a phenomenon unprecedented since studies began and even despite the rainfall in recent days.