Kenya + 2 more

ActionAid responds as floods bring devastation to the Horn of Africa

ActionAid is responding to the floods hitting the Horn of Africa prioritising Garissa and Ijara districts in north eastern Kenya as heavy rains continue. Tarpaulins, blankets, jerry cans, water treatment tablets, utensils and transport are being provided to some of the 300,000 people who have been displaced from their homes.

"This will help to provide much needed shelter and clean water to people," said Zvidzai Maburutse, who is coordinating ActionAid's emergency relief effort.

"The floods have cut off whole areas so these supplies will be welcome for some of the poorest people."

In Garissa, livestock have been swept away, schools are closed and people are living in the open. Ninety people were airlifted to safety and seven people are reported dead and 20 are missing.

In Ijara there is an acute food shortage, communications and roads have been cut-off and there has been no emergency aid until now.

ActionAid is providing temporary shelter, blankets, water tablets, jerry cans and household utensils for 3000 families in Isiolo, Ijara and Garrisa districts.

Health authorities are seeing a sharp rise in diarrhoea and there are fears of an outbreak of cholera and respiratory tract infection.

It is estimated that 1.8 million people have been affected by the worst floods for years in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. The UN has been working round the clock assisting people.

Many of the areas now affected by flooding correspond to the areas affected by drought so people are especially vulnerable.

"This is yet another reminder of the real impact of climate change on poor people," said Roger Yates, head of emergencies at ActionAid.

Ethiopia

In Ethiopia it is reported that 80 people have died and more than 350,000 people have been affected in the south east of the country.

More than a 100,000 people have lost their homes and livestock and 25,000 hectares of crop lands have been destroyed. Cases of dysentery, malaria and diarrhoea have been reported.

Some of the main challenges facing emergency teams are lack of access, shortage of fuel and non-food items such as plastic sheeting, blankets and water containers.

ActionAid has spent close to £400,000 on emergency response and rehabilitation work since August and will be stepping up assistance in the wake of the recent floods.

Somalia

The worst hit areas in Somalia are at Hiran and Middle Shabelle, close to Puntland, where ActionAid has been responding to the tsunami. ActionAid is currently undertaking a rapid needs assessment.

The death toll has risen to 23 and many people are still unaccounted for. According to the country's Food Security Analysis Unit (FSAU), 1.1 million people in Somalia alone are facing a humanitarian emergency which could turn into famine if not addressed immediately.

Many of the affected areas are still inaccessible and outbreaks of cholera and malaria are happening as water has become polluted. People are also under threat from crocodiles, snakes and other predators.