At least 29 people have been killed and more than 113,000 displaced following heavy rains and flash flooding in Kenya and Somalia.
The Somali federal government declared a state of emergency Monday after floods caused the deaths of 14 people. Emergency rescuers were working to reach an estimated 2,400 people still trapped by flood waters in the Luuq district of southern Somalia’s Jubaland state.
The U.N. had called for the evacuation of people living along the entire stretch of the Juba River, warning of a high risk of flooding there and along the Shabelle River.
In Kenya, the Red Cross said 15 people had died as a result of flooding. It said floods also destroyed 97 hectares of agricultural farmland and killed 1,067 animals.
Kenyan weather forecasters have been warning the country since September to expect heavy precipitation between October and December, the country’s rainy season. Weather experts were contradicted by Kenyan President William Ruto, who predicted “there would be no devastating El Nino flooding.”
El Nino, a naturally occurring weather phenomenon, causes surface waters of the central and eastern Pacific to warm, affecting weather patterns around the world.
The heavy rains come one year after the horn of Africa suffered its worst drought in around 40 years, which along with rising prices in food due to war in Ukraine, caused 43,000 people to die, according to the U.N., and put Somalia on the brink of famine.
The severe weather also affected the Somali region of Ethiopia, where crops failed to grow and thousands were displaced from their homes.
Some information in this report was taken from The Associated Press and Reuters.