Flooding affects over 159,000 in Ethiopia as rains continue to intensify: UNOCHA

ADDIS ABABA (EI) — The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said flooding has left in excess of 159,557 affected as rains continue to intensify in parts of Ethiopia.

“Heavy kiremt season (June–September) rains continued to cause flooding and landslide so far affecting at least 159,557 people, including 133,576 people displaced as of August 18,” the UNOCHA said in its latest periodic update report issued on Wednesday.

Figures from the UNOCHA show that from the total affected flooding people in Ethiopia, some 40,131 people displaced in Afar region, some 45,557 people displaced in Ethiopia’s Somali region, some 3,321 people displaced in Oromia region, some 20,066 people displaced in Southern region, some 20,892 people displaced in Gambella region as well as some 3,609 people displaced in Amhara region.

“Houses were destroyed, livelihoods were lost and WaSH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and other public infrastructures damaged,” the UNOCHA said, adding that weather forecast for the remainder of the season indicates a further strengthening of the rainfall across most rain-receiving areas of the country.

The UNOCHA also warned that kiremt (Ethiopia’s major rainy season) rains are expected to affect more than 2 million people and displace an estimated 435,000 people.

It also stressed that the flood incidents “are compounding the already complex humanitarian context dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, desert locust infestations, conflict and food insecurity.”

Other challenges include limited coordination at the lower administration level, limited risk communication, inadequate road infrastructure, and budget constraints, it was noted.

The UNOCHA also said that both the Ethiopian government and its humanitarian partners have recognized the need to strengthen preparedness and response activities as flooding plays a vital role in the outbreak and the spread of water-borne diseases such as cholera.

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