Mogadishu, Nov 24 (EFE).- The death toll in Somalia due to persistent El Nino rains and floods has risen to 101, with over one million people forced to evacuate their homes since October.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud confirmed the death toll during a televised speech to the nation, local media reported on Thursday.
The flash floods, triggered by the El Nino meteorological phenomenon, have affected around two million people across 34 districts, with the worst conditions reported in the southern state of Jubaland, southwestern state of Hirshabelle, and central state of Galmudug.
“The El Nino rains and floods have left thousands of families stranded. The priority right now is to rescue stranded families and provide immediate humanitarian relief to the victims,” said Mahamud Moallim, the head of the Somali Disaster Management Agency.
Authorities and humanitarian agencies have distributed life-saving assistance to about 820,000 affected people, but needs are rapidly escalating as flooding expands across the country, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement
The rainstorms and floods have cut off thousands of people from markets, causing extensive damage to roads, bridges, and airstrips. In some areas, hospitals, schools, and other vital facilities remain closed with the risk of cholera spiking, the UN body said.
“Six months after Somalia emerged from a historic drought that pushed the country to the brink of widespread famine, another climate shock has struck as heavy rains and floods batter several areas of the country,” the agency said.
Projections indicate that heavy rains will persist in the coming weeks, sustaining flooding, especially along the low-lying Shabelle and Juba riverine areas.
The El Nino-induced rains and floods are expected to swamp at least 1.5 million hectares of farmland through December, the OCHA said.
El Nino is a meteorological phenomenon that warms the oceans and increases the likelihood of storms and droughts in certain regions.
The rainstorms follow Africa’s most severe drought in four decades, which left Somalia on the verge of famine, facing 6.6 million people with acute food insecurity, according to the UN. EFE