Ethiopia: Floods Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation n° MDRET017

Description of the disaster

From the first week of April heavy rainfalls have occurred in Eastern and Southern parts of Ethiopia related to the El Niño phenomenon and the regular Belg rains (March – May). The first reports of flash floods and subsequent displacements of communities, especially in Somali region, was reported and responded to from 7 April onwards.

Since then, these rains have intensified and spread with the most recent flash floods reported on 4 May in Oromia Region. An estimated 485,610 people have been affected, including 189,668 people being displaced as a result of the flooding according to International Organisation of Migration. This equates to 19,557 households, comprised as follows: Afar (671 HH), Amhara (420 HH), Harari (287 HH), Oromia (5,322 HH), Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) (2,972 HH) and Somali (9,885 HH). In addition, the Ethiopian Red Cross Branch offices are reporting more than eight fatalities and significant loss of livestock and agricultural outputs.

In the background of the recent floods is one of the worst droughts in decades, also attributed to El Niño phenomenon, putting 10.2 million people in need of emergency food in almost all regions of the country. IFRC launched an emergency appeal to support ERCS to respond to the drought in Afar region. The April-May flooding has devastated many areas that are currently suffering from drought. The extensive rains have bought some relief to drought affected areas but multiple seasons of rain will be required to ensure longer term food security.

Since the onset of the first heavy rainfall on the 7 April 2016, the National Disaster Risk Management Commission has been assessing and leading the response with humanitarian actors, including the Ethiopian Red Cross, to respond to the floods in Somali, Afar, Oromia, SNNPR and Amhara regional states. The National Flood Task Forces (FTF) was reactivated on 7 April to lead and guide the needs assessments across the affected areas and set up a flood alerts system to raise awareness of anticipated risks in Southern and South-eastern Ethiopia. As part of this preparedness, a Flood Contingency plan was published on 4 May by OCHA.

On 4 May 2016, West Hararghe and Arsi (Oromia) Zonal Disaster Risk Management working group reported localized flash flooding in Gololcha, Chole, Seru and Hawi Gudena due to unexpected heavy rains in the surrounding areas and subsequent flash floods.

Summary of the current response

ERCS West Hararghe and Arsi Branch deployed rapid assessment teams to Hawi Gudina in West Hararghe Zone and Gololcha, Chole and Seru in Arsi Zone. In these woredas (districts), the reported impact on people, their homes and livestock from these new flash floods dated 4 May is: eight people dead, five injured and 3,179 heads of livestock lost.

If the rain continues with the magnitude observed recently, thousands of people could be affected as the majority are settled in low lying flood prone areas in the regional and zonal towns. The regional disaster risk management task force contingency plan estimated over 19,557 households could be affected by the flood which is still impacting different parts of the region.