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East Africa: UN Support Continues Amid Heavy Rains, Severe Floods And Cyclone Threat

3 May 2024

The United Nations and partners
continue to support authorities across East Africa as the
region braces for more of the heavy rains and severe
flooding that have reportedly killed upwards of 350 people
since March.

Torrential rains could worsen
with the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Hidaya, the World
Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned on

Prepare for

The tropical cyclone is
the first of its kind to develop in eastern Africa

and is due to have a “very big impact”, WMO spokesperson
Clare Nullis told journalists in

She said Tanzania was
expected to suffer in particular
because the ground
is already waterlogged and “is about to get hit by even
more rainfall” from the storm.

Kenya is also on high
alert after a dam burst its banks on Monday, killing at
least 45 people.

Concern for

Separately, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, expressed
particular concern
about thousands of refugees and other
displaced people across East Africa who have been uprooted
once again after their homes were washed away.

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Kenya, nearly 20,000 people in the Dadaab refugee camps –
home to more than 380,000 refugees – have been displaced
due to the rising water levels. Many of them are
among those who arrived in the past couple of years after
fleeing severe drought in neighbouring

Some 4,000 residents are
currently sheltering in six schools
with facilities
that have been extensively damaged. Others are staying with
friends or relatives elsewhere in the camp, where several
latrines have collapsed, putting refugees at risk of deadly
water-borne diseases.

Forced to

Meanwhile, in Burundi, around 32,000
refugees – roughly half of the refugee population in the
country – are living in flood-affected areas, and 500
require urgent assistance. Refugee families in the
capital, Bujumbura, have had to relocate multiple
due to the rising water levels.

said access to food and other necessities is increasingly
difficult as prices have spiked due to high fees to use
canoes to move goods. Education has ground to a halt as
classrooms are flooded and learning materials

Beyond Bujumbura, rent prices have
reportedly doubled, making it too expensive for many refugee
families to relocate. Among the badly affected areas is
Nyanza Lac commune in Makamba province, where 25,000
Burundian refugees returning home from exile in recent years
have settled.

Fleeing flash floods

Other East
African countries where displaced people are among the
hardest hit by the rains include Somalia. Over
46,000 internally displaced persons in five locations in the
south have been forced to relocate
due to flash

In Tanzania, over 200,000 refugees mainly from
the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi hosted in
two camps have been impacted. Shelters within the camps have
been damaged, affecting some 200 families.

across the region

Across East Africa, UNHCR is
working closely with local authorities and partners,
rushing crucial aid and providing protection
services to refugees and affected communities

living nearby.

The agency is providing refugees in
Kenya with tarpaulins, mosquito nets, soap, jerricans and
other relief items, with special attention to older persons
and people with disabilities. Families are also being helped
to relocate to safer locations.

UNHCR’s activities
are part of the wider response to the crisis in Kenya, where
the UN and partners have reached some 125,000 people so far.
The UN Resident Coordinator in the country, Stephen Jackson,
said overall support includes shelter, food, medicine and
cash, in addition to blankets and mosquito nets.

think the concern is more rain is coming and so we
know the needs are going to deepen before they get
,” he told UN News.

Burundi, UNHCR will provide shelter kits and cash assistance
to support refugees as part of the interagency response led
by the Government. Thousands of former Burundian refugees
who have returned home are among those prioritized for

Teams in Tanzania are working with local
partners to rehabilitate refugee shelters, while in Somalia,
critical protection assistance and essential items are being
delivered to internally displaced families.

climate resilience

UNHCR said climate change
is making many parts of the world increasingly
, especially fragile regions like East
Africa and the Horn of Africa, and the floods reveal gaps in
preparedness and early action.

“Funding available to
address the impacts of climate change is not reaching those
forcibly displaced, nor the communities hosting them.
Without help to prepare for, withstand and recover from
climate-related shocks, they face an increased risk
of further displacement
,” the agency

Last month, UNHCR launched its
first-ever Climate
Resilience Fund
to protect refugees and displaced people
from climate shocks. The aim is to raise $100 million by the
end of 2025.

Contributions will support
initiatives such as providing more clean energy to power the
water, schools and health infrastructure used by refugees
and host

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