Much of East Africa is currently experiencing heavy rains and the hardest hit areas are Somalia, the Somali region of Ethiopia and northern Kenya. In the vicinity of the town of Gode in Ethiopia where an SOS Children's Village is located, the Shabelle River burst its banks, reportedly leaving many dead and many more without homes. The SOS Children's Village, which also encompasses a mother and child hospital, an SOS Kindergarten and an SOS Hermann Gmeiner School, was not affected. Even though the Shabelle runs right past the compound, the village is built on high ground and the river is low at that point.
In Somalia thousands of people have left their homes because of the floods that have hit the northern, southern and central parts of the country. According to Ahmed Ibrahim, the director of SOS Children's Villages Somalia, at least five people, including three children, died in Mogadishu as a result of flooding. He went on to say that heavy rainfall is to blame for the rising water levels in the Shabelle and Juba rivers, which have burst their banks, destroying farmlands in southern Somalia.
Many of those affected are said to be among 250,000 internally displaced people who fled their home villages in southern Somalia due to the ongoing conflicts and long term drought. The floods, Ibrahim continued, have also affected the SOS Children's Village Mogadishu in that about 80 m of the compound wall was destroyed but no-one was injured.
In Kenya, according to the press, those most seriously affected by the heavy rain are in the coastal and north eastern provinces where emergency relief is underway. It is reported that more than 70,000 people have been affected by floods at the Kenyan coast. Ironically a climate conference discussing global warming, with participation by world environment ministers and up to 6,000 other delegates, is currently taking place at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi.