Flash flooding in Somalia kills 22, affects over 450,000

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Flash flooding caused by heavy rainfall in central Somalia has led to the death of 22 people and affected more than 450,000, the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Sunday.

The flooding was caused by the Shabelle River, which burst its banks, forcing tens of thousands of people out of their homes.

The floods have left a trail of destruction, with homes, farmland, and livestock destroyed, schools and health facilities temporarily closed, and roads damaged.

Fartun Ali, a 35-year-old mother of eight, said it was her fifth time fleeing flash flooding in Beledweyne.

Experts say that extreme weather events are happening with increased frequency and intensity due to climate change, and this is the latest in a series of floods to hit East and central Africa.

Last year, at least 265 people died, and tens of thousands were displaced in several countries in East Africa due to two months of relentless rainfall.

In May 2020, at least 65 people died in Rwanda as heavy rains pounded the region, while at least 194 deaths were reported in Kenya.

In the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo last week, more than 400 people lost their lives due to torrential downpours, floods, and landslides.