Heavy rainfall over recent weeks has caused widespread flooding in various countries of East Africa. Fatalities, displacements and material damages have all been reported in areas of Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Burundi and Malawi.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) reports that since October, floods have affected more than 706,100 people in Somalia, mostly in South West, Hirshabelle, Jubaland and Galmudug states. At least 14 people have lost their lives.
As of 06 November 2023, more than 113,690 people have been temporarily displaced from their homes and up to 2,400 people are believed to be trapped by flood water in Luuq Godey, Minyara, Gumaro and surrounding villages, in Luuq district, Jubaland State. The authorities and partners are scrambling to evacuate the stranded families, UN OCHA said.
“South West and Jubaland states are the worst affected, with an estimated 268,243 and 268,365 people affected, respectively. In Hirshabelle, at least 145,800 people are reportedly affected, with 11,700 displaced following heavy rains on 05 November. Up to 400 families (2,400 people) are believed to be trapped by floods in Luuq and efforts are ongoing to urgently evacuate them. In Baardheere, 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,” UN OCHA said.
Officials in the Somali Region of Ethiopia reported fatalities and displacements as a result of flooding in several areas of the region in early November 2023, including communities in Dolo Odo close to the Genale River (also Webi Jubba River) and the border with Somalia.
Flood damage to roads and bridges has impeded the delivery of relief items. Damage to livestock, crops and property was also reported. Further rain and flooding was expected.
Periods of heavy rain have affected areas of Kenya since late October 2023, causing floods in areas of Mombasa and in the counties of Mandera, Marsabit, Meru, Samburu, Isiolo, Turkana and Busia, among others.
Kenya Red Cross reported on 06 November that floods have affected a total of 15,264 households across the country and at least 15 people have lost their lives. Wide areas of crops have been damaged and hundreds of livestock have perished.
Communities in Mandera County, the northeasternmost county in Kenya which borders Ethiopia and Somalia, have been particularly badly affected. Local officials reported roughly 4,000 families forced out of their homes.
The Governor of Mandera, H.E. Dr. Ali Maalim, described the situation as dire.
“Lives have been lost, livestock perished, millions of shillings in properties damaged, farmlands submerged, schools and hospitals inundated, and towns like Elwaq, Shimpir Fatuma, Damasa, Dariqa, Lafey, among others, are grappling with the devastating impact of these floods.
“As of today, over 12,000 households are bearing the brunt of this catastrophe, with roughly 4,000 families forced out of their homes. The collapse of pit latrines is raising concerns about waterborne diseases and the looming threat of a malaria outbreak, the governor said.
The governor said approximately 80% of the road infrastructure in Mandera County, including the vital A13 road, has been severely affected.
“This not only impedes the flow of goods and services but also compounds the difficulties faced by our citizens,” he added.
Flooding has also affected other areas of the country. In late October, local media in Kenya reported fatalities and material damages caused by heavy rain and floods in Marsabit and Busia counties. The Kenya Meteorological Department reported the overflow of the Malgis River in Loglogo in Marsabit County. Flooding also occurred in areas of Meru County around this time.
The heavy rain continued into November. Several people had to be rescued by helicopter after flooding struck in Samburu County on 01 November.
On 02 November local media reported one person was swept away by the flooding Isiolo River in Burat in Isiolo County. Flooding also occurred in areas around Mombasa. One person died in Kiasuni.
Flooding was reported in Loima, Turkana County after rivers broke their banks around 03 to 05 November.
Levels of several rivers area high, in particular in the Tana and Athi River basins where warnings for communities living close to the rivers have been issued.
Heavy rain damaged buildings including churches, schools and houses in Kiyange in Kibago commune in Makamba Province, Burundi on 15 October 2023. At least 4 people died and 15 others were injured when a church wall collapsed. Crops and farmland were also damaged, the provincial government reported.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Burundi reported strong winds and heavy rain caused damages and displacements from 15 to 22 October 2023. Areas of Rutana and Gitega Provinces were impacted by heavy rains.
Further heavy rain from 23 to 26 October impacted areas of Cibitoke Province, affecting around 5,000 people and displacing around 1,500.
Flooding occurred in parts of Malawi from late October 2023 including in Nsanje District where the Thangadzi and Milole rivers broke their banks; and in Machinga District, where the Lingoni River overflowed.
Authorities reported displacements after homes were damaged in both districts. One fatality was reported in Nsanje District.