Introduction and background:
Next to drought, flood is one of the major natural hazards in Ethiopia which causes significant damages to peoples’ lives and livelihoods. The objective of this flood alert is twofold, (1) to create community awareness about the risk of floods and its impact on lives and livelihoods, and (2) to alert responsible Government bodies, operational partners and communities to take the necessary preventive and mitigation measures. This alert message was prepared based on the recently disseminated belg/gu weather outlook by National Metrological Agency (NMA) and it will cover the period from April to May 2020.
In most cases floods occur in the country as a result of prolonged heavy rainfall causing rivers to overflow and inundate areas along the river banks in lowland plains. The major river flood-prone areas are parts of Oromia and Afar regions lying along the upper, middle and down-stream plains of the Awash River; parts of Somali region along the Wabe Shebelle, Genale and Dawa Rivers; low-lying areas of Gambella along the Baro, Gilo, Alwero and Akobo Rivers; down-stream areas along the Omo and Bilate Rivers in SNNPR and the extensive floodplains surrounding Lake Tana and the banks of Gumera, Rib and Megech Rivers in Amhara.
The following areas reported flood incidences in the past few weeks: on 24 April, flash floods killed four persons and damaged 53 houses (fully) and 212 houses (partially) in Dire Dawa; on 25 April, river overflow damaged social infrastructure and affected livestock in Jinka town, SNNP; and on 25/26 April, flash floods affected 34,507 households and displaced 15,195 households in Erer, Sitti, Nogob and Korahe zones, Somali region.
According to NMA weather outlook, belg/gu rain will increase its temporal and spatial coverage even beyond the usual belg/gu dependent areas of the country. For the upcoming month (May 2020), the rain producing systems are anticipated to continue more or less in strengthening manner across most parts of the country. Moreover, heavy fall is likely to occur over some places of eastern, southern, south eastern and south western parts of the country.
By large, the belg/gu rain will be expected to have a positive impact on water recharging and agriculture/pasture development activities. Hence, it is always advisable to take all the necessary precaution, prevention and mitigation measures to minimize the negative impact of flood disaster on peoples’ lives and livelihoods.