people in 400 households in Belatwein, the capital of Hiran
region in central Somalia, have been displaced and their homes
put under floodwater from the Shabelle River, swollen by rainfall
in its upper regions in the Ethiopian highlands.
did not involve a flash flood and people were able to rescue
some of their belongings rather than being left destitute,
a UN humanitarian official told IRIN on Tuesday. Residential
areas of Belatwein had been flooded, as well as farms along
the riverbanks, and the road leading to Kismayo and Mogadishu
had been cut off at Kansuuma, Somali media reported.
floodwaters are increasing and have forced people to flee.
The displaced people are now in urgent need of food, shelter
and medical assistance," AFP quoted Hiran regional governor
Hassan Abdulle Qalad as saying.
not rained in recent days in Hiran or the Ethiopian highlands
so it was hoped, "with fingers crossed", that the worst of
the flooding was now over, the UN aid official said. In fact,
though germination would now be fine, it was again likely
to become a concern in June that farmers get an adequate amount
of rain for their crops, he added.
UN mission last week reported that 600 to 700 families had
been displaced by Shabelle floodwaters in and around Bombasso
village, 45 km southwest of Merka. It identified at least
two other vulnerable areas: Qoroley, 28 km northwest of Merka,
and Mubaahrak, 25 km to its north.
is mobilising to provide the flood-displaced people with the
basics - water purification, mosquito netting, blankets, sheeting
and drugs - as well as implementing quick programmes to help
communities repair river embankments, the mission report stated.
longer term, it hopes to dredge the Shabelle, in which silt
has built up over recent years such that the river is actually
higher than the surrounding plains in some parts, making conditions
ripe for flooding.