Update Report: Somalia Floods and Climate Change Impact

Current Flood Situation

As of 15th May 2024, the flood situation in Somalia remains severe, with heavy rains and flash floods affecting millions of people across the country. The Gu season floods have already impacted over 203,000 individuals, resulting in the displacement or relocation of approximately 37,000 people and the tragic loss of 7 children. Hirshabelle, Jubaland, and South West states are the worst affected areas [1].

The floods have caused significant destruction and damage to infrastructure, including the loss of 3,080 shelters and 4,702 latrines, damage to 3 schools, and the death of at least 100 livestock. The submersion of shallow wells poses a serious risk of cholera outbreaks. Along the Shabelle River, water levels in Belet Weyne were above moderate risk levels as of May 6th. Similarly, in the Juba River, water levels at Doolow have exceeded high flood risk levels due to heavy rains.

Humanitarian Response

Humanitarian partners have reached over 72,000 people across 25 districts with various forms of assistance. However, projections indicate that at least 770,000 people could be affected by the end of the Gu season [2].

Historical Context and Ongoing Challenges

In December 2023, the Deyr season floods had affected 2.48 million people, leading to the displacement of 1.2 million and causing 118 deaths. The floods also inflicted severe damage on 224 schools, disrupting the education of many children [2]. The agricultural sector has been particularly hard-hit, with 60,000 farms adversely affected [2]. Floodwaters have destroyed food storage systems, seedlings, and canals, rendering agricultural machinery obsolete. This devastation has significant implications for food security in the region.

Climate Change Impact

The ongoing heavy rains and floods in Somalia are exacerbated by climate phenomena such as El Niño and the positive Indian Ocean Dipole. These climate changes contribute to the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including both droughts and floods, making the humanitarian situation increasingly precarious. Women and children bear the brunt of these climate-induced hardships. In times of drought and floods, they are often the most vulnerable, facing heightened risks of displacement, loss of livelihood, and health crises. The disruption of education for children and the destruction of infrastructure essential for daily living exacerbate their plight.

The Impact on Women and Children

During the floods in Somalia, women and children face specific challenges that exacerbate their vulnerability. Here are the key challenges faced by women and children during the floods in Somalia:

  1. Displacement and Loss of Shelter: Women and children are disproportionately affected by displacement during floods, with a significant number forced to leave their homes. The loss of shelter and belongings further compounds their vulnerability[3].
  2. Increased Risk of Gender-Based Violence (GBV): Women and girls are at a heightened risk of sexual violence, harassment, and abuse during floods. Factors like distance to water points, poor shelters, and lack of protection contribute to their increased vulnerability to GBV[4].
  3. Limited Access to Services: The floods disrupt access to essential services for women and girls, including healthcare, education, and protection services. Reduced mobility, closure of service sites, and fear of service providers due to COVID-19 impact their ability to access necessary support[4].
  4. Food Insecurity and Malnutrition: Women and children, especially those in female-headed households, face food scarcity and increasing food prices during floods. Disruption of incomes, restricted mobility, and lack of access to resources lead to challenges in sustaining basic survival needs, potentially resulting in malnutrition and food insecurity [3].
  5. Education Disruption: Girls dropping out of school due to economic challenges caused by floods and COVID-19 is a prevalent issue. The disruption of education can have long-term consequences on the well-being and future opportunities of children, particularly girls[5].
  6. Increased Risk of Early Marriage: Families facing economic hardships during floods may resort to early marriage for their daughters as a coping mechanism. The risk of early marriage, along with reports of female genital mutilation, rises during such crises[5].
  7. Inadequate Protection and Shelter: Inadequate physical shelter structures, overcrowding in camps, and lack of proper lighting and locks in latrines expose women and girls to sexual violence. The lack of protection measures along with conflicts over scarce resources further heighten their vulnerability[5].
  8. Health Risks and Disease Outbreaks: The submersion of wells and disruption of sanitation facilities during floods pose health risks, increasing the likelihood of disease outbreaks. Women and children are particularly susceptible to health issues in such conditions[3].

These challenges underscore the urgent need for targeted humanitarian assistance and protection measures to address the specific vulnerabilities faced by women and children during floods in Somalia.


The flood situation in Somalia underscores the urgent need for sustained humanitarian assistance and climate adaptation measures. While efforts by humanitarian agencies and authorities are ongoing, challenges persist in meeting the vast needs of the affected population. Addressing the root causes of vulnerability, particularly the impacts of climate change, is crucial to building resilience among Somalia’s communities.


[1] Somalia | Situation Reports (unocha.org)

[2]Somalia: 2023 Deyr Season Floods Situation Report No. 5 (As of 24 December 2023) | OCHA (unocha.org)

[3] Devastating Floods Disrupt Lives and Exacerbate Needs in Somalia | Action Against Hunger

[4] somalia.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/resource-pdf/situation_of_women_and_girls_-_drought_in_somalia.pdf

[5] Women and Girls in Somalia Continue to Be the Most Affected by the Humanitarian Crises | CARE International (care-international.org)

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