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”El Nino” will hit Somalia worse than famine, UN warns


Nairobi – UN official warned on Thursday that heavy rains leading to an El Nino climate event would affect nearly a million people in Southern Somalia.
Hussein Gadain, Technical Advisor at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Water and Land Information Management Unit gave the warning in Nairobi, Kenya.
El Niño, a warming of sea-surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean, occurs every few years. It is linked to heavy rainfall in East Africa and drought-like conditions in the Horn of Africa region.
Gadain, in a statement, said that the situation could lead to a humanitarian crisis that would worse than the 2011 drought that attracted worldwide attention.
He said that the rains could put the lives of 900,000 people in southern Somalia at risk of severe flooding ‘’when it begins later this year’’.
“While some countries experience depressed rains during El Niño events, Somalia experiences heavier rainfall that usually lead to flooding.
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‘’This may cause diseases, death and destruction of property and infrastructure,” he said.
The UN advisor said that much higher than normal rains were expected to hit the region in September, 2015, as a result of the El Niño climate phenomenon.
He warned that it could reverse many of the humanitarian and development gains made in southern parts of Somalia since the 2011 famine.
The famine was estimated to have caused the death of 260,000 people, mostly as a result of rising food prices, failed rains and the effect of the political crisis in Somalia.
“If El Niño conditions materialise, an estimated population of 900,000 people living in the riverside areas of the Juba and Shabelle Rivers inside Somalia are likely to be affected by the floods,‘’ Gadain said. (PANA/NAN)

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