Nation hit by two years’ of rain in single day

Djibouti, and other regional countries in Africa, have been severely affected by unusually heavy rains

Kate Ng
Thursday 28 November 2019 17:47
Passengers from stranded vehicles stand next to the debris from floodwaters, on the road from Kapenguria, in West Pokot county.
Passengers from stranded vehicles stand next to the debris from floodwaters, on the road from Kapenguria, in West Pokot county.

Djibouti, a small East African nation, has been hit with the equivalent of two years’ worth of rain in a single day, resulting in severe flooding and the death of nine people.

Several regional countries including Kenya are struggling after heavy rains, with more downpours forecast over the coming days.

A joint Djibouti-UN statement said up to 250,000 people have been affected in recent days in the country, which is one of the world’s most vulnerable non-island nations in the face of climate change as sea levels rise. Neighbouring Somalia has been hit hard by recent flooding as well.

In Kenya, East Africa’s economic hub, the government said 120 people have been killed in flooding and mudslides during an unusually severe rainy season. More than 60 died over the weekend in West Pokot county.

More than 18,000 people across Kenya are displaced, according to the Kenya Red Cross Society. Infrastructure has been damaged, making aid delivery more difficult.

Doctors are worried that diseases, especially waterborne ones, might spread.

“We have health issues, and is it wounds, is it children who are coming up with pneumonia, is it diarrhoeal illnesses,” said Dr. Taabu Simiu at the West Pokot County Referral Hospital.

“Life here is terrible because we don’t have money, because if someone had their money in the house it was all swept away by the floods,” one survivor, Cherish Limansin, said.

“It’s only poverty staring at us here. We wake up with nothing. If it wasn’t for the little help we get we would have nothing and so far today we have eaten nothing.”

The government of Djibouti has declared a state emergency and are working with civil protection agencies, foreign armed forces, and UN agencies to provide relief.

Associated Press

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