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UN agency calls for urgent donor support in case of further floods in Horn of Africa

Friday June 30, 2023

People wade through a flooded road in Afgoye, Somalia, Aug. 9, 2020. (Photo by Hassan Bashi/Xinhua)

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Wednesday called for urgent donor support to strengthen resilience and prepare for further floods expected later this year due to the El Nino weather phenomenon.

In its latest Horn of Africa drought response situation report issued Wednesday, the IOM said it has scaled up its drought response in the Horn of Africa, providing vital assistance to over 4.3 million people in Somalia and Ethiopia since January 2022.

"While famine has been averted through sustained and scaled-up assistance, further multi-sectoral assistance and donor support is urgently required, including to rebuild livelihoods, strengthen resilience and prepare for further floods expected as a result of the El Nino weather phenomenon later this year," the IOM said.

According to IOM, by May 2023, most parts of the drought-affected Horn of Africa region were on track to receive above-average rainfall, although some areas continued to experience dry spells, particularly in central Somalia.

This followed five consecutive seasons of below average rains, which drove mass displacement, widespread death of livestock and a devastating humanitarian crisis.

The IOM, however, warned that the rains brought severe flash floods, impacting over 900,000 people in the region, worsening the risk of water-borne diseases such as cholera, particularly amongst a population weakened by high rates of malnutrition.

IOM said by the end of May, cholera remained at very high levels in Ethiopia, while Somalia and Kenya continued to experience cholera outbreaks as well.

It said although the rains helped replenish water points and provided vegetation and improved agricultural conditions, levels of malnutrition in the region reached their highest levels since the drought began in 2020.