Somalia is currently facing severe flash floods, following a prolonged dry spell of hunger and water stress. Thousands have been displaced, dozens have perished, and virtually all parts of the country are in a dire humanitarian crisis.
Salah Ahmed Jama, Somalia’s deputy prime minister, declared a state of emergency two weeks ago due to the devastating impact of El Nino, affecting southwestern Somalia the most. Baidoa town, the largest in South West State and headquarters of the Bay region, has been heavily impacted by the floods.
Muslimo Kerrow Humow, a mother of three, sought refuge at the Bur-dhuhunle camp in Baidoa after the protracted drought wiped out her animals and crops in the Bakol region.
Now faced with the El Nino rains, Kerrow expressed their struggle for water and better living conditions.
Despite the widespread flooding affecting countless people, Kerrow has not received humanitarian aid.
An estimated 1.7 million civilians have been affected, over 700,000 displaced, and more than 50 deaths reported due to the El Nino rains, according to the United Nations and Somalia Disaster Management Agency (SoDMA).
The floods follow a devastating drought that decimated livestock and crops, plunging Somalia toward famine after five failed rainy seasons.
Abdi Adan Ali and his family were displaced by flash floods in Berdale, 60 km west of Baidoa. Adan recounted the sudden collapse of their residence’s wall due to the floods, forcing their evacuation.
Humanitarian agencies noted that these floods are the latest in a series of extreme weather events in Somalia, exacerbating the country’s vulnerability to the global climate crisis.
The floods have marooned seven out of 10 satellite towns in Baidoa, while SOS Children’s Village, a non-governmental organization focusing on supporting children without parental care, initiated emergency response in five districts of South West State. Hassan Mohamed Ibrahim, the health and nutrition coordinator, highlighted the worsening conditions, lack of food, and clean drinking water amid the flood’s aftermath.
Baidoa District Hospital, operating under SOS Children’s Village Somalia, faces overwhelming demand for medical services amidst shortages of supplies, particularly as cases of cholera and measles rise due to contaminated water consumption by flood victims.