More than 4 million people who have been impacted by devastating floods that have inundated vast swaths of farmland in East Africa are in dire need of humanitarian assistance, Oxfam, an international charity, warned.
Oxfam said the torrential rains, which began in October, have killed hundreds of people, washed away thousands of homes and destroyed thousands of hectares of farmer’s crops across Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia, right in the middle of the harvest season.
Oxfam in Africa Director Fati N’zi-Hassane said in a statement released Tuesday evening that the worsening climate crisis is a harsh reality for those already suffering hunger and destitution in East Africa.
“Today, millions of people are pummelled by consecutive weather extremes they are hardly responsible for, with absolutely nothing to shield them or help them rebuild their lives,” N’zi-Hassane said.
According to the charity, nearly 2 million people across the three countries have also been forced to flee their homes and farms as floods decimated almost the entire rainy season harvest, six months after a historic five-season drought.
The heavy Deyr (October-December) rains in Somalia have killed more than 118 people and devastated one-fifth of the harvest in south-central Somalia, Oxfam said.
It is expected that 1.5 million hectares of farmland in Somalia will be adversely affected by the floods, according to the United Nations.
“The scale and frequency of climate destruction in East Africa paints a stark picture of the abhorrent climate injustice against disadvantaged countries and communities facing climate extremes,” N’zi-Hassane said.
The unrelenting floods have displaced more than 500,000 people in Kenya, after washing away thousands of their homes, devastating 8,498 hectares of their farmland, and killing 13,500 of their livestock, the charity said.
It said hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced in Ethiopia’s Somali region where the destruction of several roads has hampered transportation and caused prices of food and basic commodities to soar.
Oxfam said even before this flooding, consecutive and prolonged droughts and ongoing conflict had already caused severe food shortages and massive loss of livestock, leaving 27.4 million people across the three countries in crisis or worse levels of hunger.