MOGADISHU - At least 29 people have died while more than 1 million others have been affected by heavy rains and riverine floods since the Gu (April-June) heavy rains started in Somalia in April, a United Nations agency said on Friday.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said 418,000 people have been displaced in 29 districts across Somalia as humanitarian agencies ramp up responses to reach those affected by the flooding.
"The rains have washed away thousands of hectares of crops, exacerbating food insecurity in affected areas," OCHA said in a report.
The rains could escalate the current outbreak of water-borne diseases, particularly acute watery diarrhea and cholera, especially among internally displaced people living in crowded settlements across the country, the report said.
The UN agency said humanitarian agencies have ramped up efforts to mitigate the devastating effects of the rains and have reached more than 255,000 people with life-saving assistance.
"This includes food, clean water, emergency shelter, nutrition and medical supplies for people who were affected by the floods," it said.
The UN agency said most of Somalia's annual rainfall (75 percent) is recorded during the Gu (April-June) season, and the performance of the season is critical for communities dependent on crops and livestock.
"On a positive note, the current heavy rainfall is expected to replenish the water catchments and subsequently boost water availability and pasture regenerations for livestock," OCHA said.
The heavy flooding comes at a time Somalia is facing the COVID-19 pandemic and a threat of desert locust infestation.