UN says 3.6 mln people affected by floods, landslides in East Africa since June

A woman uses a cart to cross a flooded section of Gilgil open-market in Nakuru County, Kenya, April 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Robert Manyara)

At least 3.6 million people were impacted by floods and landslides across large swathes of East Africa since June, the UN humanitarian agency said on Saturday.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the floods have compounded an already challenging situation for people across the region, many of whom were already faced with conflict, violence, the desert locust upsurge and COVID-19.

“Water levels of several lakes in Kenya and Uganda are rising, impacting thousands of people,” said OCHA in its latest humanitarian report.

The report says flooding in South Sudan affected an estimated 856,000 people since June, including nearly 400,000 who have been displaced. Jonglei, which experienced devastating sub-national violence earlier this year, was amongst the areas hardest-hit by floods.

The UN said nearly 1.1 million people in Ethiopia have been affected by floods, including over 313,000 people displaced.

In Kenya, the water levels of several Rift Valley lakes, especially Baringo and Naivasha, are historically high, following the highest seasonal rains in decades in October to December 2019 and above-average rains in 2020, displacing thousands of people and impacting livelihoods, schools and health facilities.