5 natural disasters that beg for climate action in Somalia

natural disasters

5 natural disasters that beg for climate action in Somalia

Every country is susceptible to natural disasters, but Somalia seems to suffer disproportionately despite making relatively little of a contribution to global warming which can worsen the impacts. 


 Nature frequently demonstrates its might amid the rich fabric of Somalia’s landscapes, from its dry hinterlands to its coastal plains, with both awe-inspiring beauty and catastrophic force. The Somali people’s resiliency is put to the test on a regular basis as they cope with a variety of natural disasters that have a significant negative impact on their lives, livelihoods, and landscapes. These natural disasters are exacerbated by climate change. 


 Delving deep into Somalia’s battle with 5 different but equally devastating natural disasters, each of which presents its own set of difficulties and highlights the need for international cooperation, preparedness, and resilience in the face of unpredictability and climate change.  


Natural disasters are cyclical natural occurrences in the weather. Hurricanes, droughts, wildfires, flooding, and fierce winds have always existed. However, the level of destruction and devastation we are seeing right now is brand-new and horrifying. 


 Numerous terrible climate disasters have occurred in different regions of the world in the past year alone, including Cyclone Idai, lethal heatwaves in India, Pakistan, and Europe, and flooding in south-east Asia. Millions of individuals have already lost their homes, means of support, and loved ones because of more hazardous and frequent extreme weather events from Mozambique to Bangladesh. 


These five catastrophic disasters present not just difficulties but also chances for significant climate change action. They act as a rallying cry for countries, groups, and people to work together in an international effort to mitigate climate change, lessen vulnerability, and increase resilience.


5 natural disasters in Somalia  


Flood: Many parts of Somalia experienced significant rains in the week beginning March 12, with the Gedo and Bay regions, particularly in the Baardheere, Wanle Wayne, Luuq, and Doolow districts, recording the most rainfall. The most recent rainfall forecast for the Gu season is in 2023. 


Over the past week, torrential rains and flash flooding have had an impact on almost 100,000 people in many regions of Somalia. Jubaland State’s Baardheere area, where the most damage has occurred, has seen 21 fatalities, including six children. Almost 13,000 families, roughly 78,000 people have been impacted; 8,945 families, about 53,600 people, had their shelters damaged or destroyed. Since the start of the rainy season, approximately 175,000 individuals in Somalia have been plagued by floods, of whom 140,000 have been forced to flee their homes. 


Fire Incidents: On the evening of April 1, 2022, a large fire started in Hargeisa’s largest market (Waaheen). The fire was so strong that the Somaliland Fire Protection, with the aid of the Ethiopia Somali region fire department, could only put it out 16 hours later, at midday on April 2. This was the most catastrophic fire that Somaliland had seen in decades, according to the fire protection agency. 28 people suffered serious injuries, while 62 people were saved from the fire. Fortunately, because the incident occurred on a weekend, there were no fatalities reported. 


Tropical Cyclone: The most powerful storm to ever reach Somalia was Tropical Cyclone (TC) GATI, which originated in the Bay of Bengal, on November 22, 2020. GATI, a Category 2 storm, made landfall near Ras Hafun with maximum sustained winds of 170 km/h. The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) upgraded its impact rating to “ORANGE” (1.5 out of 3) and predicted that the cyclone’s humanitarian impact would be “MEDIUM”: In just two days, it dumped more rain on the area than usual. Although TC GATI disappeared by November 25, 2020, it had left a path of devastation across Somalia’s Bari and Sanaag.  


Drought: Since January 2021, drought has caused 1,170,842 individuals to be relocated as of the end of September. In September 2022, 68,393 individuals were left homeless due to drought, a 31% drop from August 2022. The two regions with the highest percentages of newcomers are Bay (26%) and Lower Juba (22%), followed by Gedo, Banadir, and Bakool (14, 11, and 11%, respectively). There will likely be a reduction in humanitarian aid beginning in April 2023 as a result of inadequate funding, and between April and June 2023, 8.3 million people throughout Somalia are projected to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worsening acute food insecurity. 


Rain and Windstorm: At an inter-agency coordination conference held on May 12, 2022, the local authority of Galkacyo requested aid from humanitarian partners in order to address the immediate and urgent humanitarian needs identified in 18 out of 20 improvised camps situated on the outskirts of the city. The unexpected windstorms and heavy rain that hit North Galkacyo on May 10 had an effect on the camps’ host cities, Galkayo and its environs. Approximately 4,416 internally displaced individuals (736 HH) who reside in 18 out of the 20 registered camps are the most impacted by this calamity. There are about 40,254 internally displaced people (IDP) or 6,709 households living in these 18 camps near Galkayo. 


These five natural disasters that have left a lasting impact on Somalia are a testament to the country’s resiliency in the face of hardship and the urgent need for climate change mitigation.  


The challenge Somalia has faced with droughts, floods, cyclones, windstorms, and displacement highlights the urgent need for climate action. These catastrophes have long-lasting effects that disrupt communities, tax available resources, and worsen already precarious vulnerabilities. They also act as powerful reminders that people with fewer means and opportunities are disproportionately affected by climate change, which has no regard for national boundaries. 

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