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Floods Displace Thousands in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia


The humanitarian group, Doctors without Borders, also known as MSF, is warning about pending food shortages and disease outbreaks in the flooded areas of Somalia.

Rupert Miller is the logistics coordinator for MSF / Holland, who’s just returned from the flood areas. From Nairobi, he described conditions to VOA English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua.

“I went in to visit our project on Tuesday...and when I arrived in southern Somalia in the area of Merera, I flew with our pilots in the surrounding area, and it’s an area of severe flooding. Our pilot who’s been in Merera, flying in Somalia for about 20 years, has never seen flooding like this since the El Nino floods in 1997,” he says.

He estimates there are about 5,000 households displaced in the area, but admits accurate information is hard to come by at this point. He says that Somalis are “living on the edges of the river bank or just finding small bits of high ground.”

Miller says four cases of cholera have been found in one village. The disease situation could get worse once the water stops moving and become still and stagnant creating a “swamp area.”

Food supplies are needed soon. Miller says, “In approximately seven or eight days time, we’re going to have huge amounts of people who are going to run out of food.”

Meanwhile, in Kenya, the rains continue and so does the flooding, severely affecting refugee camps in Dadaab and displacing thousands of people.

Millicent Mutuli, spokesperson for the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, spoke from Nairobi to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua.

“Most of Ifo camp, the worst affected camp, still remains under water. But I think to just be a little bit more optimistic, water levels have risen just slightly. We have not seen the flash floods that went through the camp in the last couple of days. That said, people have continued to be moved from flooded areas to an adjacent camp 10 kilometers away. As of yesterday, we had assisted more than 3,000 people to reach Hagadera. But there are another 6,000 people, who on their own have moved to higher and drier areas of Ifo camp,” she says.

Most who have traveled to Hagadera have walked there. Those unable to do so are being transported in donkey carts.

Small planes are being used to bring in supplies because the airport is too small to handle large cargo planes. “This is worrying because in the next two to three weeks we are going to need to bring in a large supply of fuel because we are running short of fuel. So it is our hope the Dadaab – Garissa route would become passable (for trucks) by then. Otherwise, we are in for a very difficult time,” she says.”

In Ethiopia, Dr. Retta Menberu of ActionAid says that flooding has killed at least 80 people and displaced about 120,000. He says many livestock have also been killed.