From drought to flooding: More than a million people struggling as continual rain submerges homes across East Africa

15 May 2017 - World Vision is rushing to respond to 1.2 millions of people affected by flooding in parts of Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. Continual rains have submerged homes, schools and businesses, displacing more than 700,000 people from their homes, and they are now camped out in tents on higher ground, in schools or other evacuation sites. 

"Hundreds of thousands of children are at risk. They don’t have food, and the water they’re drinking is dirty. Their schools have been damaged, and their parents’ means of earning an income has been destroyed by successive disasters. Firstly, it was the drought, and now flooding is wreaking havoc and will impact the lives of people for several months to come. Truly, people are struggling to cope,” said Stephen Omollo, World Vision’s Vice President for East Africa. 

Stephen continued, “Through our multi-country flood response, we are working to ensure access to food, water, shelter, and sanitation. World Vision emergency response teams in partnership with local governments, in-country humanitarian agencies, and communities themselves, are working to address the immediate life-saving needs of the flood affected children and their families.”


In southern Somalia, more than 718,000 people are affected, and 220,000 have been displaced. Flooding has destroyed crops, killed livestock, damaged water and sanitation systems, and it has also disrupted schooling. Cholera cases are expected to rise as flood waters contaminate shallow wells, and pose a major threat to human health.

World Vision is distributing shelter kits, blankets, clothes, cooking material and hygiene kits to flood-affected families. Already, in two states affected, 13,600 people have been reached. Another 58,400 people are expected to be provided essential emergency relief items in the weeks to come. In the longer term, World Vision aims to distribute nutrition and food supplies, repair flood-affected schools and set-up emergency health care treatment. 


Heavy rains and flooding has displaced about 311,100 people, killed 132 and damaged more than 200 schools. Community water systems have been damaged in several counties, and the number of cholera cases is climbing in the north and east of the country.

To those displaced by the flooding, World Vision is distributing blankets, mosquito nets, soap, buckets, cooking pots and food items. Already, in six counties affected, 1,450 families have been reached and another 36,000 people are expected to be provided assistance in the days to come. 


Flooding in the Ethiopia has displaced 170,760 people, primarily in the southeast of the country. Homes have been destroyed, farmland submerged, crops destroyed, livestock killed and schools inundated with water. There is an urgent need for food, water, health services and core relief items such as temporary shelter materials, blankets and hygiene kits.

World Vision is responding in Dollo Ado, where 26,000 people have been displaced. World Vision Ethiopia aims to provide mosquito nets, mattresses, jerricans for carrying water, and cooking stoves to families affected by the flooding. The organization aims to provide more than 14,000 people with assistance in the new few weeks to come.


World Vision has been responding to the East Africa Hunger Crisis since 2017, and reached more than 3.5 million people facing food insecurity in the face of drought, conflict and political instability. The organization provided a comprehensive package of assistance that saw millions of those in desperate need receive clean water, food, nutrition support, health care, livelihood assistance, along with access to education and protection activities, with support from private donors, grants from foreign governments and UN agencies such as World Food Programme.  

"Over the past few years, the intensity of recurring natural disasters in the eastern Africa has worsened by the effects of climate change. With the recent flooding in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, millions of people have been affected and thousands displaced. People are living in makeshift shelters without food, clean water or adequate sanitation. Further forecast of rains are amplifying the plight of the already displaced children and their families," says Christopher Hoffman, World Vision’s Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Director in East Africa.

Key figures:

  • Somalia: 718,000 people affected by flooding, 220,000 displaced
  • Ethiopia: 170,000 people displaced by flooding 
  • Kenya: 311,000 people displaced by flooding

For an interview with World Vision staff or for more information, please contact:

Mark Nonkes
Disaster Communication Advisor
East Africa Regional Office | World Vision International