Ethiopia + 1 more

Horn of Africa: Floods - OCHA Situation Report No. 2

Situation Report
Originally published
Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2005/0079

OCHA Situation Report No. 2
Horn of Africa - Floods
4 May 2005

This situation report is based on information received by OCHA Ethiopia and OCHA Somalia.

I. Horn of Africa

A Regional Situation

1. In East Africa, heavy rains have continued to cause severe flooding in Ethiopia. Somalia, Kenya, and Eritrea have also been affected by severe weather conditions, but to a lesser extent. Increased rain over the next few days may further deteriorate the humanitarian situation in the region.

2. In Kenya, flooding has affected more than 25,000 Somalia refugees from the Dadaab camp in the north-eastern part of the country. Heavy rains have destroyed the shelters of a majority of refugees.

3. In Somalia, the town of Hargeisa was seriously affected, when heavy rains led to flooding of a dry riverbed. Infrastructure and property were destroyed and about one hundred and seventy households were affected. Teams comprised of government representatives and humanitarian partners conducted a rapid joint assessment mission of the areas most affected. This mission noted, in particular, that the heavy rain and flooding led to severe damage of the water supply systems, including dams and wells. Relief items have been rapidly distributed and most of the immediate, emergency needs are being met. Rehabilitation and recovery plans are currently underway. As for the south central region of Somalia, the river water level keeps rising and the area continues to remain on alert.

4. As the Somali region of Ethiopia has been particularly affected, the remainder of this report focuses on this area.

II. Ethiopia

A Country situation

5. Continuous rain in the Ethiopian highlands over the last ten days has resulted in the flooding of large parts of the eastern Somali region of Ethiopia. The Gode, Jjiga and Afder zones of Ethiopia have been particularly affected, resulting in the deaths of more than 100 and affecting over 100,000 people. Hundreds of houses have been destroyed. Tens of thousands of livestock have been killed, further affecting the livelihoods of people already rendered vulnerable by protracted drought conditions. It is expected that the number of people affected will increase as access is gained to areas cutoff by the flooding.

6. Heavy rains continue to affect over 80 villages, destroying both infrastructure and crops. Roads and bridges have been washed away. Areas of the Somali region continue to remain at risk due to the rising river level. The inaccessibility of many villages has made the delivery of assistance difficult. In addition, the movement of crocodiles and snakes out of the water has caused access difficulties and threats to people, especially for small children.

B Needs

7. Reports from the field indicate that those displaced from the floods are suffering from diarrhea and water borne illnesses and are generally in need of food, shelter, and health assistance. Water purification is also needed to prevent waterborne diseases. Malaria is an increasing threat. There is concern of an increase in food insecurity due to the destruction of livestock, livelihoods, and food in the region. Humanitarian agencies and government representatives are conducting needs assessments of the affected areas, but heavy rain and inaccessible roads have limited access to many areas.

8. The severe weather conditions have affected internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Fafan and Hartsheikh. A local NGO stated that about 6,000 IDPs from the two camps do not have shelter. Lack of clean water, sanitation and shelter in the camps are posing serious risks to the health of many IDPs. Immediate assistance is needed in the form of blankets, plastic sheeting, water, food, and health assistance.

C National Response

9. The federal government has not made a formal request for assistance. The government's Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (FDPPC) has provided food and non-food items, including high protein biscuits, shelter materials, jerry cans and household items, using military helicopters for local positioning to the distribution sites. The transport of relief supplies has been hindered by the considerable delay of fuel delivery for the helicopters.

10. On 2 May 2005, the regional authorities asked humanitarian agencies to provide urgent assistance as they do not have the capacity to respond.

D UNCT Response

11. International organizations and agencies present in the affected areas immediately offered assistance to those affected by the flood. The Somali Regional Crisis Management Committee meets on alternate days to discuss coordination mechanisms and identify priority needs.

12. OCHA is supporting the government in information and coordination activities and with the identification of priority areas and needs directly through two field officers deployed in the region. So far UNICEF has provided the following emergency relief items: 15 mt high protein biscuits, 10,000 jerry cans, 250 rolls of plastic sheet, 20000 blankets, 10000 plastic plates, 15000 plastic cups, 5000 plastic jugs, 4000 cooking pots. UNICEF also sent a staff member to the region to provide training on water purification equipment. ICRC is working through the Ethiopian Red Cross to provide assistance to families in the area with the provision of non-food items.

This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at

Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23/06 28

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers:
Ms. Janet Puhalovic, direct tel. +41-22-917 3194
Mr. Marcel Mikala, direct tel. +41-22-917 1729

Press contact:
(GVA) Ms. Elisabeth Byrs, direct tel. +41-22-917 26 53
(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct tel. +1-917 367 51 26

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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