Effects of Flash Floods in Africa

As of 19th September 2023, the World Health Organization had confirmed over 4000 fatalities and about 8000 people missing persons in Libya following storm Daniel on 10th September.

Effects of Flash Floods in Africa
[File image of a flooded road. Photo/Courtesy]

Globally, climate change has impacted both positively and negatively. On the negative side, we have witnessed prolonged drought seasons and destructive floods. Flash floods, for example, have caused a lot of destruction. 

Large masses of water have been recorded to cause an uncountable number of human deaths as well as livestock deaths. Some people become victims unknowingly, while others succumb during the rescue process. It has been recorded that others die on the scene as they go to witness how the mass waters are flowing. As of September 19, 2023, the World Health Organization had confirmed over 4000 fatalities and about 8000 people missing in Libya following storm Daniel on September 10.

Flash floods cause the destruction of crops in renowned farming areas, a factor that contributes to food insecurity. This is usually a loss to the farmers, especially those who solely depend on farming for their livelihood. Another reason why the cost of living has increased is due to an increase in demand for certain food crops, which, to some extent, have to be imported from other African countries.

Flash floods also bring some economic activities to a halt. For example, when large water bodies like Lake Victoria and Lake Naivasha are overflowing, navigation becomes a bit difficult, resulting in minimal fishing activities, which also creates a demand as well as an increase in the cost of fish and other seafood.

Flash floods result in outbreaks of waterborne diseases like cholera, typhoid, malaria, and bilharzia. This is because all sorts of garbage and dirt are drained into the bodies of water and later consumed. Sometimes floods occur due to blocked drainage systems, thereby causing water to enter people’s residences and leading to contamination.

Floods make manoeuvring on the roads difficult and can lead to traffic jams and sometimes road accidents.

Flash floods have also made people vacate their premises since the areas of residence are not very safe during heavy rains. For example, the United Nations report of November 17, 2023, states that tens of thousands of displaced families in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia have been affected, according to the refugee agency. Some areas experience soil erosion, resulting in the formation of gulleys.

Therefore, flash floods continue to have a huge impact on the development of African countries since some funds that could be used for development purposes are usually put aside for disaster management, which includes rescuing flood victims, the provision of medical services, housing, and relief food by the government in collaboration with some non-governmental organizations. The government should also take precautionary measures by making sure that cities have good drainage systems in place.

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