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Scores Dead, Thousands Displaced As East Africa Struggles With Heavy Rains

Flood-hit Djibouti and Kenya struggle to cope after major downpours that affect hundreds of thousands across the Horn of Africa.

Flash flooding has hit Djibouti, where the government and United Nations said the equivalent of two years’ rain fell in a single day, with several countries in East Africa, including Kenya and Uganda struggling after heavy rainfall.

Rainfall from October to mid-November has been up to 300 percent above average in the greater Horn of Africa region, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network.

On Thursday, a joint Djibouti-UN statement said up to a quarter-million people have been affected in recent days in the country on the Red Sea that’s home to military bases for the United States, China and others.

However, given the heavy rains forecast through the end of the month that number could grow.

Djibouti has been called one of the world’s most vulnerable non-island nations in the face of climate change as sea levels rise. Neighboring Somalia has been hit hard by recent flooding as well.

Deadly Floods In Kenya

In Kenya, East Africa’s economic hub, the government said 120 people have been killed in flooding and mudslides during an unusually severe rainy season. More than 60 died over the weekend in West Pokot county.

More than 18,000 people across Kenya are displaced, according to the Kenya Red Cross Society. Infrastructure has been damaged, making aid delivery more difficult.

Doctors are worried that diseases, especially waterborne ones, might spread.

“We have health issues, and it is children who are coming up with pneumonia and diarrheal illnesses,” said Doctor Taabu Simiu, at the West Pokot County Referral Hospital.

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