Ethiopia + 2 more

Horn of Africa - Floods Fact Sheet #1, Fiscal Year (FY) 2007



Unusually heavy rainfall in October and November 2006 has caused widespread flooding across the Horn of Africa, with areas in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia sustaining the most serious damage. According to relief organizations, the flooding has affected up to 1.8 million people in the region and resulted in population displacements, loss of life and livelihoods, and increased incidence of disease. The flooding has particularly affected vulnerable pastoralist communities still recovering from a severe drought in early 2006.

Roads and infrastructure damaged or destroyed by heavy rainfall, as well as insecurity, pose significant access problems and are impeding the distribution of relief supplies in affected areas.

The USAID-funded Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) forecasts continued rains in the region through mid-January 2007, and this is likely to exacerbate the crisis in the short-term.

To assist flood-affected populations, the U.N. has made $29.5 million available through the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), to which the U.S. Government (USG) is a contributor.


Estimated Affected Population
Government of Ethiopia/U.N. Appeal, November 2006
U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), December 2006
Food Security Analysis Unit (FSAU), December 2006

Total USAID/OFDA Humanitarian Assistance Committed to the Horn of Africa in FY 2007: $2,527,221
Total USAID Humanitarian Assistance Committed to the Horn of Africa in FY 2007: $88,860,121



According to the Government of Ethiopia/U.N. Appeal, flooding in Somali Region has affected an estimated 362,000 people, killed 80 others, and displaced 122,500 residents. The most-affected zones include Gode, Afder, Liben, and Korahe, where OCHA reports an increased incidence of acute watery diarrhea, malaria, and intestinal parasites due to stagnant water and widespread damage to sanitation facilities.

OCHA reports that damage to irrigation canals in west Gode Zone has disrupted agricultural activities, raising additional concerns about longer-term food security.

According to USAID/OFDA staff in country, flood waters have begun to recede and access to most affected areas has improved. However, access to the most seriously affected towns of Mustahil and Kelafo, south of Gode, remains limited due to renewed rains. U.N. helicopter airlifts initiated on November 30 are delivering emergency relief supplies, including blankets, plastic sheeting, cooking pots, and seeds to Mustahil town.


According to OCHA, the flooding in Kenya has affected between 350,000 and 700,000 people, including 100,000 refugees at the Dadaab refugee complex in North Eastern Province. The most-affected districts are Mandera, Moyale, Marsabit, Garissa, Tano River, Kwale, Kilifi, Isiolo, Turkana, Wajir, Mombasa, and Busia.

On December 1, the Government of Kenya's Ministry of Health issued a cholera alert following reported cases in Kwale, Mombasa, and Moyale districts. Additional flood-related health concerns include increases in water and sanitation-related diseases and malaria.


The regional flooding has had the most significant impact on Somalia, where the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that rainfall in most areas since October has exceeded normal levels by more than 300 percent; rainfall in some localities is 400 to 600 percent above average levels.

OCHA reports that flooding along the Shabelle and Juba rivers has affected an estimated 440,00 people in the Benadir, Hiraan, Lower Shabelle, Lower Juba, Middle Juba, and Gedo regions, resulting in 52 deaths and the displacement of up to 72,000 residents. If rains and insecurity persist, an additional 900,000 to 1 million people could be affected.

According to OCHA, damaged roads and insecurity continue to impede access and the delivery of humanitarian assistance in many parts of south and central Somalia.

FAO reports that flooding has caused extensive damage to recently planted crops and farmland in the Gedo, Juba Valley, Hiraan, and Shabelle Valley regions.


Ongoing Programs

The USG is addressing emergency needs of flood-affected populations in the Horn of Africa with relief commodities and services positioned in the region as a result of the USG's robust response to the drought in early 2006 that affected many of the same populations. In FY 2006, USAID/OFDA provided more than $29.5 million in emergency assistance to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia for water and sanitation, health, nutrition, and food security activities-a portion of which is now targeting assistance to flood victims in the region.

USAID's Office of Food for Peace (FFP) is providing food assistance to flood-affected populations through ongoing activities from FY 2006 countrywide programs, which amounted to 494,350 metric tons (MT) of P.L. 480 Title II Emergency Food Assistance, valued at more than $305.8 million, for Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.

In addition, the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (State/PRM) provided nearly $15 million in earmarked funding in FY 2006 to support Somali refugees in Kenya and relief efforts in Somalia. With $3 million of this funding, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is working with the Somali Red Crescent to provide relief commodities, such as blankets, jerry cans, bednets, sandbags, and water purification supplies to vulnerable groups in Hiraan, Juba Valley, and Shabelle Valley regions.

New Actions


On November 7, U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Vicki J. Huddleston declared a disaster due to the effects of the flooding in Somali Region.

Through a standing agreement with the U.N. World Food Program (WFP), USAID/OFDA has approved the use of $467,290 in rapid response funds for emergency air operations to assist flood victims in Ethiopia. USAID/OFDA staff are also working closely with partner International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) to coordinate the airlift of emergency relief commodities to Gode Zone in Somali Region.

To date in FY 2007, USAID's Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) has provided more than 125,000 MT of P.L. 480 Title II emergency food assistance countrywide, valued at approximately $61.3 million. More than 38,000 MT, valued at $20 million, has been distributed through WFP to the Ethiopian Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency (DPPA) for emergency relief.


On November 16, U.S. Ambassador Michael E. Ranneberger declared a disaster due to the impact of the flooding on the Dadaab refugee complex in northeastern Kenya. Subsequently, on November 28, Ambassador Ranneberger issued a second disaster declaration in response to the cumulative impact of the flooding countrywide. In response, USAID/OFDA is providing $100,000 to the Kenyan Red Cross Society (KRCS) to support emergency assistance to affected populations. In addition, UNICEF has received $200,000 for flood relief.

Thus far in FY 2007, USAID/FFP has provided 33,630 MT of P.L. 480 Title II emergency food assistance, valued at approximately $25 million.

In collaboration with State/PRM, CJTF-HOA is working with the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and WFP to airlift 200 MT of relief commodities to affected areas. Initial airlifts will ensure that urgently needed supplies reach Dadaab refugee camp, which has been inaccessible by road for more than three weeks.


USAID/OFDA is providing six Zodiac boats and motors, valued at approximately $100,000, to the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) to facilitate response efforts in flood-affected regions. In addition, UNICEF is receiving nearly $1.3 million in USAID/OFDA funds to support U.N. Common Air Service and health and water, sanitation, and hygiene programs.

Through a standing agreement with UNICEF, USAID/OFDA has approved the use of $250,000 in rapid response funds to assist flood victims in Somalia.