East Africa hit with more flooding

Crocodiles and stagnant water are hampering rescue efforts in Ethiopia, where severe flooding has left 68 people dead and thousands displaced.

While rescue operations continue in Ethiopia, the floods now risk spreading to neighbouring Somalia, the UN has warned.

Ethiopia, Somalia and other countries in the Horn of Africa already suffered severe floods between August and September this year (see related story. Last month torrential rains again pounded south-eastern Ethiopia since October 23, only easing up on Tuesday.

The rains caused the Webe Shebelle river to burst its banks on Monday killing 15 people. Five of the 68 people killed in the floods have been eaten by crocodiles from the Shabelle river, and six injured by them.

The flooding was made more severe because it was preceded by a prolonged period of extreme drought, which affected millions of people across the Horn of Africa (see related story.

Nearly 280,000 people live in the area affected by the floods, which killed at least 1,000 livestock and destroyed 15,000 hectares of land, raising fears of further famine.

The region has experienced severe floods and droughts in recent years with the effects on water and food supplies aggravated by political instability, such as the ongoing conflict involving Somalia’s Islamists and its interim government, backed by Ethiopia.

Goska Romanowicz

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