UN dispatches emergency team to Beledweyne as floods displace scores

Somalia
By MAKORI ABUGA in Nairobi , GAROWE ONLINE
River Shebelle broke her banks forcing over 160,000 people out of their homes. The affected population is in dire need of food, medicine and cloths.

BELEDWAYNE, Somalia - The United Nations has dispatched her multi-agency team to central Somalia following unprecedented floods that caused havoc in over 115 villages.

River Shebelle broke her banks forcing over 160,000 people out of their homes. The affected population is in dire need of food, medicine and cloths.

Federal Goverment through Prime Minister Hassan Ali asked for assistance from international community, observing that 'Somalia cannot manage the crisis alone'.

"We have formed a team that is managing the floods response. The government has also released some funds. We need international community assistance. The situation in Beledweyne town is getting worse," he had warned.

Beledweyne town is worst affected, with already over 15 people already feared dead after their boat capsized earlier this week.

Somali's first female Mayor Safiya Hassan was among those rescued. However, one of her aides is feared dead following the accident.

The UN however, has identified villages worst hit by floods, with both Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO), International Organisation for Immigration (IOM) working closely with UNSOM to salvage the situation.

On Friday WHO officials said over 5,000 people had been evacuated to safety. The victims received emergency treatment and other medical assistance.

"We have evacuated over 5,000 people from this area. We are giving emergency medical services to the affected population as part of our rapid response plan," the official said in their Twitter account.

World Food Programme has dispatched helicopter to the affected areas for easy accessibility and delivery of emergency services.

"Humanitarian partners are scaling up assistance to thousands of people affected by floods in Somalia. WFP Somalia has deployed a helicopter to Mogadishu deliver aid to inundated areas," UNSOM confirmed.

IOM also distributed plastic sheets, blankets, sleeping mats, mosquito nets among others as the UN team intensified campaigns to rescue those affected in the catastrophe.

"This is part of an ongoing response from our Contingency Stock sending 3,200 Emergency NFI kits to flooded Belet Weyne, consisting of plastic sheets, blankets, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, kitchen sets, etc, through which IOM & Cluster partners assist 19,200 individuals."

Somali locals especially in Puntland's Garowe capital spent part of the week mobilising for resources in a bid to assist those affected by raging floods in the Southwest region.

Beledweyne is prone to floods due to her topography and proxy to Shebelle river which often breaks banks during heavy rains season. It's not the first time floods are experienced in the town.

Also to benefit from the United Nations Assistance Mission to Somalia is Lower Juba, which has seen thousands displaced from this homes due to floods in the past week.


Rerporting by Makori Abuga; Editing by Omar Nor

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