An estimated 140,000 people – including some 70,000 children – in the Hiraan region of Somalia who have been forced to flee rising flood waters to higher grounds are in desperate need of clean water, food, temporary latrines and shelter, Save the Children is warning.
A further 300,000 people – including approximately 150,000 children – in Beledweyn town and the surrounding areas of the Hiraan region of Somalia could be forced to relocate over the coming days if, as predicted by the Somalia Water and Land Information agency, the Shebelle River reaches the flooding threshold.
Save the Children is working with the Somalian government to support affected communities and is urging the international community to release resources to support displaced children and families. Mobile clinics are urgently needed to manage the anticipated disease outbreaks as a result of flooding. Mohamud Mohamed Hassan, Save the Children Somalia Country Director said:
“If the banks of the Shebelle River overflow, it will devastate children and their families who are already struggling with major food insecurity. Thousands of vulnerable people living along the riverbank have already fled and we are extremely concerned about the welfare of tens of thousands more who are yet to evacuate.
“We know flooding is imminent and yet we do not see immediate plans and resources being released by the international community to support the affected populations. This is very concerning. The people of Hiraan need support now before it’s too late.”
Communities living along the Shebelle river are mainly reliant on crop and livestock production to survive. Repeated successive droughts in the region has led to soil depletion, with flooding likely to cause further topsoil erosion and further damage the fertility of the land. Floods have already disrupted services by limiting people’s movements, destroying local markets, education and health facilities.
While the current rains are likely to increase water availability to support irrigation and farming in the long run, they will not ease the current food crisis in Somalia which is currently affecting at least 6.3 million people, nearly half the country’s population. This includes 2.1 million people estimated to be experiencing severe food shortages between from October to December 2019. The expected flooding will make the situation worse to the already vulnerable populations.
Save the Children has been supporting affected communities by providing clean water through water trucking, distribution of food and non-food items and has installed at least 100 temporary latrines. Save the Children is also planning to deploy mobile health teams to affected areas.