Addis Ababa (Agencies): More than 20 individuals have lost their lives, and over 12,000 others have been forcibly evacuated from their residences in Ethiopia’s Somali region, owing to sudden and severe flooding caused by heavy rainfall.
The regional government disclosed this distressing information on Saturday. The torrential downpour has wreaked havoc on bridges and roads, hindering access to affected households, according to the Somali Regional State Communications Bureau.
Additionally, reports of damage to livestock, crops, and property have emerged. An official statement revealed: “More than 20 people have died in the flooding so far… more than 12,000 families have been displaced.” It further cautioned that the risk of flooding remains high, as ongoing and anticipated rainfall may exacerbate the situation.
The United Nations’ humanitarian agency, OCHA, had previously indicated that eastern Africa was likely to experience above-average rainfall from October to December, primarily due to the El Niño phenomenon. El Niño is a natural weather pattern linked to increased global temperatures, which can lead to drought in some regions and heavy precipitation in others.
The Horn of Africa is particularly susceptible to the effects of climate change, with extreme weather events occurring more frequently and intensively. Since late 2020, the region has been grappling with its most severe drought in 40 years, affecting parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. This region also witnessed devastating rainfall-related events at the end of 2019 when relentless downpours resulted in the loss of lives, the displacement of tens of thousands of people, and extensive damage to property and livestock in various East African countries, including Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.