Climate change

How International Organisations are helping flood affected populations across Africa

Heavy floods wreaked havoc in some urban centres and periurban areas in some parts of Somalia, Chad, South Sudan, Somaliland and Central African Republic. These disasters have been claiming human lives, completely damaging houses and infrastructure and leaving thousands of people homeless

Civilians displaced by flooding gather at a military helicopter to receive relief support in Gumuruk, Boma state, in the Greater Upper Nile region of South Sudan, Nov. 1, 2019. Photography: VOA

Floods are the most common natural disaster and the leading cause of natural disaster fatalities worldwide.This year, thousands of African farming families were unable to grow crops, feed their families and also meet their basic needs in lean seasons by selling surplus produce at market. But all these occurred due to heavy floods that have devastated their crops, damaged their homes and swept away their food stores, leaving them totally destitute.

International organisations like the United Nations, WHO and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have been scaling up humanitarian efforts to help the internally displaced and affected communities in the Horn of Africa and other regions of the young continent.

Informal settlements with poor drainage infrastructure are particularly affected during the rainy seasons. Photography: Chris Morgan/World Bank

The unprecedented rainfall has submerged entire communities for more than three months. Resulting in temporary displacement of a large number of people and the disruption of basic services. Thousands of homes and shelters have been destroyed, crops that sustain local livelihoods wiped out. The most important part of it is that, there are fears of contaminated water which will spark an outbreak of disease.

The Humanitarian call

Last week, UNICEF called for decisive action to help those at risk of malnutrition and disease outbreak in Somalia.

Dar es Salaam’s growing population is increasingly at risk of flooding. Photography: Chris Morgan/World Bank

Somali and Somaliland

With the government’s relief plan, the organisation has helped to deploy 10 rapid response teams, 20 emergency response teams, and distributed 483 medical supply packages including supplies to manage cholera and trauma in flood-hit 300, 000 people in the Somali and Somaliland respectively.

Central African Republic

Also the World Health Organization has been distributing mosquito nets, cholera treatment, and other vital supplies to tackle waterborne diseases where 23, 000 people displaced in recent floods Central African Republic.

South SudanIn South Sudan almost 1 million people have been affected and 60% of flood-hit areas already faced extreme levels of malnutrition. Since the latest rains began in July, 42 nutrition centres have been forced to suspend their services, WHO reports stated. Prior to the flooding, nearly two-thirds of the affected areas reported critical levels of malnutrition primarily affecting children and pregnant women.


Floodlisting reported that over 400 families were displaced by flooding in the Sila Region in south east Chad in mid August this year. The floods struck on 15 August in the village of Harata (located in the department of Kimiti, sub-prefecture of Kerfi) and its surroundings. IOM said that 423 households moved to the villages of Goulamaye, Aboundouroua, Sessabane, Badia, Andressa and Sadal Ali, all located in the same sub-prefecture.

The need for more helping hands

After all efforts by relevant stakeholders in Africa and beyond, thousands of families are still living in makeshift camps or in the open and are in dire need of clean water, sanitation, safe shelter, health and food supplies.

Hence, the impacts of flooding are expected to rise due to population increases, economic growth and climate change. The risk of catastrophic losses due to flooding is significant given deforestation and the increasing proximity of large populations to coastal areas, river basins and lakeshores.



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