Massive rains trigger flash floods in Djibouti, more than 150,000 people affected
• Massive rains triggered flash floods in Djibouti: the equivalent of 2 years of rainfall occurred in in one day. Houses, infrastructure, schools and community buildings were damaged.
• Some 150-250,000 people were somewhat affected, countrywide. Over 5,000 people hosted for several days in collective centres.
• The government is leading relief operations and activated the emergency plan (ORSEC).
Humanitarian partners, civil society and armed forces stationed in Djibouti are supporting the response.
• A rapid needs assessment is ongoing, countrywide, with the participation of 50 staff from government, UN and NGOs.
2. Situation Overview
Some 150-250,000 people have been somewhat affected by heavy rains across the country, mostly in Djibouti town. Nine people (7 children) reportedly lost their lives. Some 300 families have reportedly been affected in Tadjourah region, and 400 in Arta area. Information from other areas is being sought. Initial government estimates indicate that some 20,000 families (100,000 persons) are likely to need some form of humanitarian assistance. With the current weather forecasts, which predicts heavy rains until the end of November, the number of affected people could further rise.
According to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Solidarity (MASS) more than 5,000 extremely vulnerable people, including 2,000 children under five years of age, were hosted in 12 collective centers (schools, community development centers) across Djibouti and have since returned to their home or their families ones. Many people are being hosted by friends and relatives across the city. While water pumping reached household level, in some dwellings the water is returning.
Despite substantial decreases of the rainfall, and while water pumping operations managed to considerably reduce stagnant water, in some areas of the city the water is resurfacing. The Ministry of Interior, the national road agency, the hydraulic department and FAO are investigating the cause of this phenomenon and find solutions. Road access remains difficult in some areas.
In Djibouti town, at least 14 schools were flooded to different degrees, with damages to roof, electricity, sanitary facilities and equipment reported. Similarly, some eight Community Development Centres suffered similar destructions. In Tadjourah, roadways have been damaged. The Wadi-Marsaki dike has withstood the high floods. The Djiboutian Road Agency (ADR) has reported that the Sagallou dike has been completely damaged and is seeking support for reconstruction.
The toll-free number (1516) activated by the Government for the victims to report problems and seek assistance has been activated received more than a hundred calls per day since the emergency plan was activated.
As part of the ORSEC plan, after four days in community centres, affected families returned to their respective homes or to friends and relatives by MASS through an emergency program of assistance and social support. This program will also help in: establishing a list of affected families by site, focusing on vulnerable groups (children under 5 years of age, people with disabilities and the elderly); identifying primary emergency needs, other support (food and non-food emergency kits) and budgeting; and mobilization of resources and kit acquisition plan. MASS also offered 3500 meals per day for evacuees, who also received support from different ministries,
NGOs and the Djibouti Red Crescent.
The civil society and the private sector mobilized and generously provided assistance to the flood victims through donations of food and non-food items and opening their homes to welcome the affected population.
Under the Prime Minister and the government members supervision, the security forces and the army, the waste management department, national road agency, and the large public work entity, together with the civil society have been engaged in pumping operations, as well as road repairs, cleaning of schools and community centres, mosques and public spaces to allow for the situation to return to normalcy.
Additional funds are urgently needed to scale up the response.