Ethiopia floods hit 1.5 mln people, routing 600,000 from their homes: UN

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 1: Flooding in the last month has impacted 1.5 million people in Ethiopia, displacing more than 600,000 of them from their homes, UN humanitarians said on Thursday.

The UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the Somali region accounts for 80 percent of those most affected, including in the Southeast East, Gambela, Oromia, Afar and Sidama regions.

"The floods have caused extensive damage to crops, livestock and vital infrastructure," OCHA said. "Houses, shops, schools and agricultural lands are submerged. There is also a rise in health risks with increased cases of cholera, malaria, and dengue fever."

The humanitarians said many people are still grappling with five consecutive seasons of severe droughts in the Horn of Africa.

OCHA said UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Ramiz Alakbarov, Ethiopian officials and United Nations and non-governmental organization representatives visited flood-affected areas to assess the situation and explore how to scale up relief efforts.

"The United Nations and our partners are supporting the government response and providing food, shelter, water and sanitation, as well as logistics support," the office said. "In addition to increased logistical capacity, we also need increased funding beyond the immediate humanitarian response to help communities adapt to climate change."

OCHA said this year's Humanitarian Response Plan for Ethiopia, calling for nearly 4 billion U.S. dollars, is only one-third funded, at 1.3 billion dollars. 

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