Death toll in Somalia flooding rises to 53 people; over half a million displaced

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - Heavy rains and flooding in Somalia have resulted in the loss of at least 53 lives, with over half a million people displaced and more than 1.5 million others affected, according to the Somali Disaster Management Agency on Monday.

Commissioner Mohamed Moalim of the agency, speaking to Anadolu over the phone on Monday evening, revealed that since the start of the El Nino and climate-induced rainy season last month, the floods and heavy rains have caused the destruction of 5,896 properties across the country.

The severe flooding has had a devastating impact on the Hiraan, Bakol, Bay, and Gedo regions in the south and central provinces of the Horn of Africa nation.

The rains and floods have resulted in “catastrophic” consequences, affecting over 1.77 million people who have lost their homes and properties, or their animals and crops, according to the International Rescue Committee which issued a statement on Monday.

“With above-normal rainfall expected to persist until the end of 2023, this will exacerbate the already grave humanitarian situation, whereby 4.3 million people, a quarter of the population are expected to face crisis-level hunger or worse by the end of 2023,” the rescue committee statement said.

The heavy rainfall in Somalia is anticipated to impact up to 1.5 million hectares of farmland, which requires urgent need for humanitarian aid and funding.

"With the forecast predicting continued heavy rainfall, there is a critical need for swift and substantial funding to address the growing humanitarian needs, mitigate the impact of the ongoing floods, and build greater resilience. Dwindling funding at this crucial juncture will hamper the ability of humanitarian agencies to provide assistance in averting more severe outcomes,” Richard Crothers, the committee's director for Somalia, said.

However, the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan, which seeks over $2.6 billion to assist 7.6 million people, remains significantly underfunded at 39%, demanding immediate action to bridge the financial gap, according to the committee.

Amidst the ongoing heavy rains and floods, Somalia's Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre visited the border town of Dolow in the Gedo region on Monday to convey a message of solidarity and determination, Somali Information Minister Daud Aweis said.

“Government is committed to spearheading the urgent humanitarian response to the climate-induced flood emergencies across our nation,” Barre said on X after his visit.

The government also sent two planes carrying food and medical supplies to Kismayo, the administrative capital of Jubaland, and the Somali-Ethiopia border town of Dolow, Gedo region.

According to the Somali Disaster Management Agency, humanitarian needs include mosquito nets, blankets, bed sheets, jerry cans, cooking pans, solar lanterns, and plastic buckets.

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