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Thursday, 7 May 2020

Floods and landslides in Kenya have killed nearly 200 people and displaced 100,000 as torrential “long rains” from Kenya to Pakistan continue to fuel one of the biggest locust plague the world has ever seen

Floods in Busia County, Kenya in May 2020. Photo: Government of Kenya

Floods and landslides in Kenya have killed nearly 200 people, displaced 100,000 and strained critical infrastructure, with unprecedentedly high water levels at two dams forcing the evacuation of villagers at risk, officials said on Wednesday. The heavy rain, which accelerated in mid-April, is expected to continue in already hard-hit areas in the coming weeks, the Kenya Meteorological Department said in its most recent forecast. May usually marks the end of the rainy season.

In Budalangi, western Kenya, residents have had to carry their belongings away from their submerged houses using boats and motorbikes, after the River Nzoia burst its banks, spilling over the land for miles around. Government spokesman Cyrus Oguna said on Twitter that over the past three weeks, floods had displaced 100,000 people — complicating efforts to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed 24 people in the country. The government is providing food and water to the displaced people and has also requested the Health Ministry to provide them with masks as a precautionary measure. The floods and landslides have been concentrated in western Kenya and have so far killed 194 people, Eugene Wamalwa, the minister in charge of relations between the regional leadership and the national government, said. “Yesterday alone, we have lost 30 people in a matter of 24 hours,” Wamalwa said. Reuters

April has seen torrential rain from East Africa to Pakistan which is feeding the biggest locust plague the world has ever seen while Covid-19 is silently expanding in the poorest countries of the world. Map FAO

First came the floods. The waters swamped crop fields and created a breeding ground for swarms of desert locusts stretching from East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and Southwest Asia.

A three-pronged attack is overwhelming the worlds most vulnerable countries affecting hundreds of millions of the most food-insecure people on the planet. April has seen torrential rain from East Africa to Pakistan which is feeding the biggest locust plague the world has ever seen while Covid-19 is silently expanding in the poorest countries of the world.

In countries whose medical systems are under-resourced, the health crisis could be compounded by a hunger crisis and lost livelihoods, according to the FAO. 

Deadly flash flooding has struck in eastern Ethiopia killing at least 4 people, with flooding also reported in southern areas. Flash flooding has affected parts of neighbouring Somalia over the last few days. Authorities warn of a high risk of flooding along the Shabelle and Juba rivers in the coming days.

Heavy rain has affected wide areas of Somalia since 20 April, causing rivers to rise and flash flooding. According to reports from the United Nations, tens of thousands of people have been affected or displaced. On 27 April, massive flash flooding swept through the city of Qardho (also known as Gardo) in the northeastern Bari region, part of the autonomous Puntland state. At least 6 people have died and several others are thought to be missing. Hundreds of families have reportedly lost their homes.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that 18 provinces in Iran are currently experiencing floods, with 7 fatalities and 2,534 people rescued and over 300 displaced between 10 and 14 April. Further heavy rain is expected.

Humanitarian agencies and local government report that flooding has affected thousands of people in Ma’rib Governorate, Yemen, including in areas of the capital, Marib City, and several camps for Internally displaced people (IDPs). Flooding struck after a storm brought heavy rain on 15 April. Capital of the country, Sana’a was also recently badly affected by flooding.

More heavy rain in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has had devastating consequences, with at least 5 fatalities reported between 14 and 15 April 2020. Ongoing heavy rain has affected the province since early March, with dozens of fatalities reported, mostly as a result of collapsing buildings.

Meanwhile, heavy rain has also affected parts of neighbouring Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) reported flooding in Kapisa Province, where crops and 183 homes were damaged.

2020 Locust Plague

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your informative news of what is going on around the world. My heart breaks for Kenya (and these other countries you mention). How they need our prayers. VB