A strong positive Indian Ocean Dipole weather phenomenon, whereby warm sea surface temperatures in the western Indian Ocean result in increased rainfall across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, is already leading to heavy rainfall, flash floods and landslides, causing loss of life, displacement, and damage to property and livelihoods. This situation is predicted to intensify through November and December.
In Ethiopia, since early October, flooding has affected several regions, displacing over 200,000 people. Somali region is the most affected with over 120,000 people displaced. The National Meteorology Agency forecasts that above-normal rainfall will continue to prevail across south and south-western Ethiopia, increasing the risk of flash floods.
In Somalia, heavy rains and swollen rivers from rainfall in the Ethiopian highlands have caused localized flooding along the Shabelle River and further downstream and all along the Juba river. OCHA estimates that 40% of Bellet Weyne town has already been affected, with about 72,000 people displaced.
In Kenya, heavy rain has affected large areas over the last week, causing flash flooding and landslides. The northern and north-eastern counties are most affected; as of 24 October, at least 21 people have died, thousands have been displaced, and houses, roads and other infrastructure have been damaged. The Kenya Meteorological Department has warned of continued, countrywide heavy rain and strong winds over the coming days. Further severe flooding is predicted, particularly along the Tana River.