AU forces donate non-food items in central Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Internally Displaced Persons [IDPs] in Central Somalia on Tuesday received non-food items from the African Union Mission troops serving in the region, following adverse effects of floods in Beledweyne district within the federal state of HirShabelle.
Since November 2019, Beledweyne has been confronting unending floods due to heavy rains, which have contributed significantly to breaking of banks of River Shebelle. Dozens have been killed while thousands have been displaced from their homes according to the Federal Government of Somalia.
Some of the items which were donated include blankets, basins, mosquito nets and tarpaulins, and were delivered by Djiboutian and Ethiopian forces serving under AMISOM, who have been keen to alleviate the plight of hundreds of people, forced to flee their homes to higher grounds due to floods, occasioned by heavy rains.
Lieutenant Ibrahim Yusuf Ahmed, the AMISOM Sector IV Civil-Military Cooperation officer [CIMIC], handed over the donations to the HirShabelle State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Mohamed Ahmed Abdi.
“The items we have handed over to the district officials for distribution include 800 tents, 1000 blankets, 800 household utensils, and 800 plastic washbasins among others, said the officer during the function.
"AMISOM Sector 4 will closely coordinate with both the district and other regional administrations in Hiran, alongside community groups including women and the youth, during emergency situations like floods and other climate change challenges,” Lt. Ibrahim added as quoted by AMISOM.
The Deputy Governor of Hiran region Sheikh Hussein Osman, who is also in charge of social services, and other top district officials, graced the event.
The HirShabelle State Minister Mohamed Ahmed Abdi, thanked AMISOM for the initiative, saying the donation would go a long way in improving the lives of people in the IDP camps, who are grappling with impacts of recurrent floods.
Besides protecting the displaced families from anticipated harsh weather, the minister noted that the items will protect children from diseases like malaria and pneumonia, which have been rampant in the region due to floods.
“I am glad that this distribution came at the right time when there is the fear of River Shabelle floods at a time when the IDPs need support. This will help to address the issue in advance instead of acting after the floods have struck,” Mohamed said.
The Deputy Governor of Hiran in charge of Social Services, Sheikh Hussein Osman, thanked AMISOM for the continued generosity towards the local population, especially in times of need. He asked the African Union military officers to continue supporting residents of Hiran.
“These items you see here have been donated by our AMISOM brothers who are always ready to support us again and we are grateful for the continued support. This month alone, on two occasions they provided medical supplies to the main hospital in Beletwyene,” he said.
Ifrah Mohamed Hared, the Coordinator of Ex-airstrip IDP camp located west of Beletweyne, appreciated the donation, but appealed for more support, noting that the local population is in dire need.
“We have received donations and we are grateful for the support to the flood-affected populations. However, people are still in need, since many more people keep coming to the camps displaced by floods,” said Ifrah Mohamed Hared.
The recent heavy downpours in Somalia have triggered a new wave of riverine and flash flooding, affecting more than 191,800 people and inundating thousands of hectares of farmland in HirShabelle, South West and the Jubaland States, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Of the 191,800 people affected by the floods, 124, 200 have been displaced from their homes and forced to higher grounds to escape the floods. HirShabelle and the South-West States are the worst affected, with the biggest percentage of those affected as humanitarian needs keep rising.
The floods have been triggered by heavy downpours during the current Hagaa ‘dry’ season, amid fears that the situation may worsen. Besides peacekeeping, AMISOM troops are actively involved in programmes that are geared towards cushioning the Somalis.
AU forces were first deployed in Somalia in 2008 to help in protecting civilians from unending Al-Shabaab attacks. The troops who are close to 22,000 according to official statistics are set to quit the country in 2021 under the Somali Transition Plan which was crafted by AMISOM.