Heavy rains and flash floods have killed at least 111 people and displaced more than 770,000 others across the Horn of Africa in recent weeks, a global charity said Thursday.
Save the Children, an international non-governmental organization, called for urgent national and international intervention to respond to the massive displacement in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.
“We need to urgently ramp up our support to families and children, including sharing messaging with families on how to reach safe spaces in time ahead of flooding, supporting evacuation plans, or protecting school infrastructure ahead of a storm, so that children can return to learning as soon as possible,” said Yvonne Arunga, Save the Children’s country director for Kenya, in a joint statement issued in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.
The El Nino weather phenomenon, which has brought unusually heavy rains, thunderstorms and extreme floods in the region, comes after the worst drought in 40 years following five failed rainy seasons.
The charity said the devastating downpour across Kenya’s northern counties and Nairobi has led to widespread flooding, displacing about 36,000 people and killing 46 people since the beginning of the rainy season less than a month ago.
According to the charity, unrelenting heavy rainfall has left the central Somalia town of Beledweyne submerged, after the Shabelle River burst its banks, forcing about 250,000 people out of their homes.
Across Somalia, eight children are among 32 people who are known to have died in the floods, with more than 456,000 displaced countrywide.
It said at least 33 people, including eight children, have died in the floods in Ethiopia. Save the Children’s Country Director for Ethiopia Xavier Joubert said heavy flooding and displacement have cut off families and children from basic services, including access to food, healthcare, water and hygiene services.
“We need to make funds available to ensure we act in anticipation of such humanitarian crises and the continuity of essential services like healthcare facilities, schools, and child protection systems,” Joubert said.