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Flooding in East Africa affects over one million people

Updated: Sep 26, 2020

Ranjith Rajeshwar

22nd September 2020

A Somali boy stands on a junk vehicle after heavy rain flooded his neighbourhood in Mogadishu, Somalia (Source: Reuters)

More than a million people have been affected by catastrophic floods across East Africa. The Nile River has recorded the highest rates of flooding in the last half-century. Due to heavy seasonal rains, large areas of Sudan, Ethiopia, and South Sudan are facing a calamity that further affects food security as well as the historic locust epidemic and the coronavirus pandemic. Many sections of the region are on the verge of a tropical storm that could worsen an increasingly desperate humanitarian crisis. 

The floods have wreaked further havoc in a region that was already in the clutches of famine. In a note to members of the UN Security Council that were obtained and reported by Associated Press, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres counted South Sudan among the four countries worst affected by famine and food insecurities. The Interior Ministry of South Sudan also released a statement claiming that nearly 103 deaths and 500 wounded have been reported.

The floods have complicated attempts to provide humanitarian relief to the region where more than six million people are said to under starvation and food insecurities, according to Associated Press.

Flood relief and humanitarian operations are further complicated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic due to rising food prices, travel, and social distancing restrictions. Many houses and buildings have also been inundated. Most prominently, flood water the Island of Meroe in South Sudan, which is the ancient royal city of the Kushite kings. 

United Nations (UN) humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock expressed his concern for the worsening situation in the region to the UN Security Council— “We fear the worst is yet to come, with the peak of flooding season normally in November and December.”

Sources: AP, Voa News, LA Times, BBC

Edited by Varun Paleli Vasudevan

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