Flooding affects 580,000 people in Ethiopia

Over half a million people in Ethiopia are affected by flooding that occurred over the last few weeks, government official said.

Muferiat Kamil, Minister of Peace of Ethiopia this morning told reporters that out of the 580,000 people affected by flooding some 217,000 are displaced. Most of the displace people by the flooding are the people living around the lower Awash River area, mainly those living in the Afar Region of the country.

It is indicated that the Government has been supplying the immediate assistance such as, food for the displaced people. To rescue the people from waterborne diseases, preparations are also underway.

The Minister of Water Irrigation and Energy, Seleshi Bekele has also indicated that the government has invested 136 million birr on different activities around the hydro dams to reduce the negative impact s of the flooding. He also stated that his Ministry is also working to build a small dam around Logiya River in Afar Region to reduce the impact of the flooding.

In addition flooding is also causing damage in Amhara, Southern regions, among others. In Amhara Region 24,000 hectares crops is spoiled, 1,363 houses are washed away, according to media reports from Amhara Region. Some 1,312 households are displaced while over 10,000 houses are at risk in Amhara Region.

Minister Seleshi also indicated that Ethiopia’s beginning to fill the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) this rainy season has reduced the damage of the flooding is causing to neighboring Sudan. “You can imagine how devastating it will be when you add 5 billion cubic meters of water to the current flooding,” he said, indicating that his Ministry has been sharing information to the Government of Sudan about the rainfall trend and threat of flooding.

Media reports show that over 100 people have lost their lives in Sudan by flooding in the last few weeks, while over 100,000 houses are inundated displacing over half a million people. The rainfall from the highlands of Ethiopia, which goes into the Abbay River and passes through Khartoum has contributed a lot to the current flooding, which Sudan has not seen in a century. GERD, which has been a controversial project of Ethiopia, is being built a few dozens of milometers away from Sudan border.

While Ethiopia has been arguing that GERD will regulate the water going to the Blue Nile River, Egypt and Sudan have been expressing their concern that they will get less water when Ethiopia begins filling water the dam which can hold 74 billion cubic meter water. It was in the middle of this controversy, Ethiopia started filling the dam with 5 billion cubic meters of water last July. It only took about a week for Ethiopia to take the 4.9 billion cubic meters of water from the Abbay River flow. Ethiopia aims to complete filling water the 6,000 megawatts hydro dam phase by phase in the four years period without causing major harm to the water consumption of the downstream countries – Sudan and Egypt.