More than 1.6 million people in Somalia could be affected by the recent unusually heavy seasonal rains, the United Nations has warned.

The UN has released $25m (£20.5m) in aid, describing the floods as a “once-in-a-century event.”

Authorities say at least 29 people have been killed and more than 300,000 displaced, with more rain to come.

Somalia and neighbouring countries in East Africa have been hit by heavy rains since early October.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the downpours had been worsened by the combined impact of two climate phenomena – El Niño and the more localised Indian Ocean Dipole, referring to differences in sea surface temperature in opposite parts of the ocean.

The agency warned that some 1.5 million hectares (3.7 million acres) of farmland could potentially be destroyed.

Martin Griffiths, the UN’s Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief coordinator, said: “Extreme weather linked to the ongoing El Niño risks further driving up humanitarian needs in already-vulnerable communities in Somalia and many other places.”

Credit: BBC.