At least 31 people have been confirmed dead from latest floods in Somalia. Several people have also been injured with an estimated number of 1.6 million people being affected.
Reports say the heavy rains that started last month have increased the water levels on Juba River.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) said the rains have caused flooding in riverine areas of the state.
“In Luuq district, 2,400 people have been trapped in an area surrounded by water,” Ocha said in a statement.
The United Nations has described floods as a once-in-a-century event.
“Extreme weather linked to the ongoing El Niño risks further driving up humanitarian needs in already-vulnerable communities in Somalia and many other places,” said Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General, the UN’s Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
“We know what the risks are, and we need to get ahead of these looming crises,” he said.
The worst areas include Baidoa District, Bay Region and Southwest State of Somalia.
Reports say several houses have been inundated, including makeshift shelters hosting over 86,700 internally displaced people in 136 displacement sites in Baidoa City.
The most critical needs include shelter, food, clean safe water, hygiene and sanitation facilities, and medical assistance.
The rains mark the beginning of the October to December rainy season in Somalia. The country is expected to have above-normal rains and increased flooding due to the influence of the El Niño conditions.
Efforts by authorities and rescue partners are underway to evacuate the stranded locals.
Somalia’s Information Minister Daud Aweis said the floods have caused widespread damage. He appealed for support to deal with what he said is a critical condition.
The country is experiencing heavier than normal rains after emerging from one of its worst droughts in four decades.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation has warned of a high risk of flooding, particularly in the south-western Gedo region.