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Press Release: Gu Rains Commence in Somalia, Putting 770,000 People at Risk

Posted on 25 Apr 2024

The Gu rainy season, starting April 19th, has already threatened 770,000 individuals across 22 districts in Somalia, exacerbating the nation's struggles with climate adversity and conflict. This follows historic flooding during the October-December 2023 Deyr season, influenced by El Niño, which affected 36 districts, impacting 2.5 million and displacing 1.7 million people.

The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is on the ground, actively assessing and responding to the needs of affected populations in DRC-managed sites.

In the coming days, specifically from April 25th to 26th, heavy rainfall expected in Beletweyne, Buale, Garbahharey, and Baidoa is likely to cause flash floods and rapid river level rises for the Juba and Shabelle Rivers.

These weather events are poised to exacerbate vulnerabilities, drive greater displacement, increase protection risks, and damage critical infrastructure like water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities. The current flooding threatens to exacerbate already critical outbreaks of cholera and acute watery diarrhea, which have already afflicted over 7,000 individuals this year.

Audrey Crawford, Country Director for DRC in Somalia, relays significant impacts at DRC-managed IDP sites:

“We have observed considerable damage in Beletweyne and Baidoa, with water sources and sanitation facilities compromised. So far, 26 sites report over 50% of their shelters damaged, placing the most vulnerable, including unaccompanied children, the elderly, people with disabilities, and minorities, at great risk. These groups find it more difficult to move or escape the putrid environment, access clean water sources, or reach humanitarian assistance, increasing their exposure to protection risks such as gender-based violence.”

So far, 26 sites report over 50% of their shelters damaged, placing the most vulnerable, including unaccompanied children, the elderly, people with disabilities, and minorities, at great risk.

/  Audrey Crawford, Country Director for DRC in Somalia

In response to the flooding, DRC has been actively monitoring flood alerts, disseminating early warning messages, and conducting rapid assessments to evaluate impacts and pinpoint urgent needs. As anticipatory action, the organization carried out registration exercises to provide multi-purpose cash assistance and essential core relief item kits to affected populations.

In IDP sites, our protection desks work closely with community-based protection networks to monitor and address protection risks. Over the next 21 days, DRC plans hygiene promotion initiatives combined with 40,000 litres of emergency water distribution on a daily basis to help prevent disease outbreaks.

In a recent statement, Audrey Crawford DRC Somalia Country Director, emphasized the critical need for a coordinated effort: "Our teams are on the front lines, not just to manage the crisis, but to mitigate its immediate and escalating impact on the most vulnerable. The success of our response hinges on strong partnerships and an integrated response, ensuring that every action taken is part of a cohesive strategy for recovery and resilience."

DRC urgently appeals to the international community for support to strengthen its flood response efforts and reinforce long-term resilience against future disasters in Somalia.

DRC has been committed to Somalia for over two decades, operating through ten static offices and a Mobile Emergency Team (MERT), delivering both immediate and long-term assistance, even in hard-to-reach areas.

Our comprehensive response, marked by an integrated first-line approach, provides access to protection, water, sanitation and hygiene services (WaSH), non-food items (NFIs), and cash assistance in emergencies. Beyond immediate relief, our Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) and economic recovery and resilience programming contribute to durable solutions.

Through active participation in forums like the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), DRC plays a pivotal role as a leading advocate and policy influencer, reinforcing our commitment to enhancing protection and inclusion.

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