Floods claim more lives in Horn of Africa


Ethiopia floods. Photo by AFP

from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
Kenya Bureau
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – AT least 124 people have died following heavy rainfall in the Horn of Africa region.

The fatalities have been documented in Kenya (50 deaths), Somalia (41) and Ethiopia (33).

The number of displaced people is reportedly over 1,1 million throughout the three countries of whom 649 000 in Somalia, 371 300 in Ethiopia and 121 505 in Kenya.

In addition, a total of more than 2,74 million people were affected across the region, 1,7 million in Somalia, 760,000 in Ethiopia and 281 880 in Kenya.

In Kenya, affected areas include the Dadaab refugee complex, which is home to some 300 000 refugees, the majority from Somalia.

The rains, which began on November 8, have washed away bridges and made roads impassable, stopping trucks from delivering food and preventing aid organisations from reaching the area.

International medical organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), has launched an emergency response.

The current floods present a serious health risk to Dadaab’s residents.

Sajad Hussein, Advocacy Manager for MSF in Dagahaley region, said prolonged lack of access to drinking water could lead to the outbreak of waterborne diseases, such as hepatitis A, hepatitis E, dysentery, typhoid, polio and cholera.

In addition, food shortages may lead to further spikes in malnutrition, and the standing water in which mosquitoes breed will increase people’s vulnerability to diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.

“People’s needs must be urgently met to prevent more serious consequences,” Hussein said.

In the past 12 months, Dagahaley camp has seen a sharp rise in malnutrition, a measles epidemic and a protracted cholera outbreak.

Floods in the Horn of Africa are attributed to climate change.

The region is at the same time emerging from its driest spell in four decades.

– CAJ News





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