Flooding in East Africa has already affected more than one million people, another blow that together with desert locust plagues and the coronavirus pandemic is threatening the food supply in the region, reports Phys.org.
Seasonal heavy rainfall has raised water levels in the Nile to their highest in 50 years, causing flooding in large parts of South Sudan, Sudan and Ethiopia. According to the United Nations, flooding in South Sudan has affected half a million people. Many of those affected live in the state of Jonglei, where intercommunal clashes took place earlier this year, despite the signing in February of a treaty to end the civil war in the country. The people that fled the conflict live precariously and some are now building mud defences around their homes to ward off floodwaters.
Meanwhile Sudan declared a three-month state of emergency earlier this month in response to the heavy flooding. Floodwaters threaten even the ancient royal city of the Island of Meroe, a UNESCO World Heritage site about 200 km north-east of the country’s capital Khartoum.
Elsewhere in Ethiopia, more than 200,000 people have been displaced by floods and evacuations are underway, according to the authorities.
Doctors without Borders has warned that people are exposed to malaria, waterborne diseases and snakebites, as water floods homes and farms. The floods add more difficulties to those already experienced in the region: restrictions related to the pandemic and crop losses due to locust swarms have led to increases in food prices, threatening food security.
Flooding caused by heavy precipitation is also having an impact on the Sahel region, affecting parts of Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Senegal.