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, leaving many dead and many more without homes. The SOS Children's Village, which also encompasses a mother and child hospital, an SOS Nursery School and an SOS Primary 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 national director of SOS Children Somalia, at least five people, including three children, died in Mogadishu as a result of flooding. 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 among 250,000 internally displaced people who fled their home villages in southern Somalia due to the on going conflicts and long term drought.
The floods have also affected the SOS Children's Village Mogadishu destroying about 80 m of the compound wall but no-one was injured.
In Kenya, 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.