649,000 people have been displaced following floods
41 people have died related to the floods, and reported cases of diarrhea and cholera are on the rise
1.5 million hectares of land could be destroyed in areas where the population rely heavily on agricultural productivity for their livelihoods
As of 6 November, 4,500 homes and shelters have been destroyed
Mogadishu, Somalia, 20 November 2023 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is issuing an alarm in response to the severe flooding wreaking havoc across the Hiraan, Bakool, Bay, and Gedo regions of Somalia. The recent heavy seasonal Deyr rains (October to December) have resulted in catastrophic consequences, affecting over 1.77 million people who have lost their homes and properties, or their animals and crops, claiming at least 41 lives, and displacing over 649,000 individuals from their homes.
Compounding the impact of the Deyr rains following years of one of the longest droughts in the region, rainfall over the last month caused by El Niño has triggered devastating floods, submerging farmlands, and damaging critical infrastructure, including roads and bridges. 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 heavy rainfall is expected to impact up to 1.5 million hectares of crop land, emphasising the urgent need for humanitarian aid and funding. Some areas have received more rain than their typical annual total just during the October to December season.
Richard Crothers, IRC Somalia Country Director, said;
“The scale of this crisis demands immediate action and coordinated efforts. The IRC is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of the affected population. Immediate scale-up of funding is needed to prevent further loss of lives, protect livelihoods, and help host communities and people who are displaced to survive this crisis.
"With the forecast predicting continued heavy rainfall, there is the 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. The 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan, seeking over US$2.6 billion to aid 7.6 million people, remains significantly underfunded at 39%, demanding urgent action to bridge the financial gap.
"People on the frontlines of the climate crisis in Somalia have done the least to contribute to climate change but are experiencing the gravest losses - this is the definition of climate injustice. COP28, less than two weeks away, presents the opportunity to address the impacts of climate on conflict-affected, climate-vulnerable communities with solutions that will target resilience, adaptation, and unequal gaps in climate finance.’’
Nearly half a million of those affected are in Southwest State (Bay and Bakool), the remaining of those affected are in Jubbaland, Puntland, and Galmudug. The city of Baidoa, in particular, is facing one of its most severe flash floods, affecting vulnerable populations in Internally Displaced Persons camps and causing extensive damage to human life, animals, and essential facilities.
As the water levels rise along the Shabelle river, presenting a high flood risk in Beledweyne, Bulo Burte, and Jowhar, the IRC is actively engaged in supporting communities by reinforcing riverbanks and prepositioning basic items for the most vulnerable, particularly those residing in internally displaced camps. The IRC is providing critical assistance, including shelter and non-food items, and cash distribution for the affected households in Baidoa, Galkacyo, Bardhere and Beledweyne.
The IRC began working in Somalia in 1981 in the aftermath of the Somalia-Ethiopia conflict. Over the years operations faced several interruptions due to insecurity and civil unrest but has been operating continuously since 2007. The IRC is operational in the main areas of concern including Mogadishu, Puntland, south west and central Somalia, and is significantly scaling up our programming to support families with healthcare for malnourished children, unconditional cash transfers to help people quickly get the support they need, rehabilitation of boreholes and water sources as well as mobile health services to reach deeper into hard hit areas.