Ethiopia – Floods Flash Update #3, 22 May 2018

On 21 May, the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC)-led Flood Task Force issued a revised Flood Alert, based on the monthly National Meteorology Agency (NMA) forecast for the month of May 2018. The latest NMA forecast informs of a shift of the heavy rainfall from south eastern Ethiopia (mainly Somali region) to the central, western and parts of northern Ethiopia, including Afar, Amhara, Gambella, southern Oromia, parts of SNNP and Tigray region.

Accordingly, average to above average rainfall is expected in Zones 3, 4 and 5 of Afar region; North and South Wello, North and South Gonder, Bahir Dar Zuria, Western and Eastern Gojam, and Awi zones of Amhara region; Benishangul Gumuz region; Gambella region; Harari region; Arsi, Bale, Borena, Guji, eastern, northern and western Shewa, East and West Hararge zones of Oromia region; most zones of SNNPR; most of Somali region; Tigray region; as well as Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa cities.

The rains are expected to benefit agricultural activities by improving moisture for belg and long cycle meher crops and perennial plants; and to help pasture regeneration and water source replenishment. However, flash floods are anticipated in areas along river banks and areas with low soil water percolation capacity.

The first Alert was issued on 27 April following the reactivation of the National Flood Task Force on 19 April, to coordinate flood mitigation, preparedness and response efforts. Another revision will be conducted based on NMA’s forecast for the 2018 summer kiremt rains and new developments on the ground. The Ethiopia Humanitarian Coordinator urged for preparedness and mitigation measures to mostly-predictable flooding incidents in Ethiopia.

Needs, response and gaps

Flood incidents continued to be reported during the month of May. In Somali region alone, flooding affected more than 52,170 households (313,000 people), of whom 31,300 households are displaced. Houses were damaged and livelihoods destroyed. Damages to public infrastructures, including health posts and schools also interrupted already scant services. Heavy rains and strong winds from the remnants of Tropical Cyclone SAGAR also caused flooding and displacement in Somali region on 19 May. Worst affected are five woredas of Siti zone (Ayshica, Dambal, Hadhagala, Gablalu and Shinile). Some 900 households in Siti are reportedly displaced, and several thousand affected. One kebele in Dambal woreda is almost fully washed-away, displacing an estimated 150 households. Tropical Storm SAGAR had made landfall in Ethiopia on Sunday, 20 May 2018. By this time, the storm had already transformed into a Tropical Depression.

The Government and partners are dispatching emergency response with limited available resources. Significant gaps are still reported in the ES/NFI, Food, Health and WaSH sectors. Urgent interventions in the areas of safe drinking water and hygiene and sanitation are crucial to prevent water-related disease outbreaks.

Ahead of the landfall of the Tropical Cyclone SAGAR, NDRMC had circulated a letter to all relevant Government bureaus at federal and regional level to initiate preparedness action. The Somali regional authorities had disseminated information to the community using local media, and had ambulances and the police forces on standby.

Some 865 MT (WFP) and 92 MT (NDRMC) of food were delivered to flood-affected areas in Somali region. The Government emergency air operation in the first week of May, when three helicopters and two Antonove were being used to transport lifesaving supplies (food, medical equipment, drugs and WaSH supplies) from Gode to the worst-affected woredas, including Mustahil and Kelafo of Shabelle zone, went smoothly. Insufficient resources and access impediments however limited reach to affected communities. The Federal and Regional authorities sent a team to the area to conduct a rapid road maintenance to ease access to Mustahil and Ferfer woredas.

Only 1,450 ES/NFI kits and 2,000 partial kits are being dispatched and distributed to flooded communities in Shabelle zone. UNICEF dispatched eight ED kits from Jijiga to all eight affected woredas in Afder and Shabelle zones. Each ED kit will treat 2,500 people for three months.

Malnutrition admission rate has increased in Shabelle zone, due to increased diarrhea cases registered amongst children under five and interruption of services. A number of OTP sites are closed due to damage and lack of access. In Mustahil, OTP service is being provided in three tents erected at the displacement site, with the support of Save the Children International.

The Flood Incident Command Post is now meeting every week.

For more information please contact OCHA Ethiopia, ocha-eth@un.org

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.