Ongoing flash and riverine flooding in Somalia has affected about 918,000 people, of whom 412,000 have been displaced and 24 killed, in 29 districts, as of 16 May. The risk of disease outbreaks is high due to crowding in areas where displaced people are seeking temporary shelter. Belet Weyne in Hiraan region is the most affected district after the Shabelle river burst its banks on 12 May, inundating 85 per cent of Belet Weyne town and 25 riverine villages. According to the district flood taskforce, about 240,000 people were displaced from the town and neighbouring villages between 12 and 13 May. In Jowhar district, Middle Shabelle region, riverine flooding has affected more than 98,000 people in 37 locations, bringing the total affected in Hirshabelle to 338,000 people. According to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management in Hirshabelle State, nearly 40 per cent of those affected in Jowhar have been displaced from their homes.
The flooding in Belet Weyne and Jowhar resulted from a sharp rise in the level of the Shabelle river following heavy rains in Somalia and the Ethiopian highlands.. As of 14 May, the main road connecting Belet Weyne town to the airport, UN compound, Ceel Jaale area and the northern regions came close to being cut off due to inundation of the road. On 15 May, the flood taskforce reported that about 1,200 people marooned by flood waters in the Boore highland, upstream of the Shabelle river, about 30 km from Belet Weyne, needed urgent relocation as the water levels around the area continued to rise. At the request of the Hiraan Governor, AMISOM provided a truck to transport a boat to relocate the population to safer areas.
293,000 people affected in Jubaland State
More than 293,900 people have been affected by flash and riverine floods in Gedo, Lower Juba, and Middle Juba regions; including 187,000 people in Gedo region and 165,300 people in Lower and Middle Juba regions as of 14 May. Local authorities in Doolow district reported that 1,200 farms have been inundated and crops covering an estimated 12,000 hectares of farmlands had been destroyed, impacting people’s livelihoods. Twelve villages in Sakow, in Middle Juba – a region under the control of the Al-Shabaab group – are reportedly flooded, affecting more than 17,100 people. Floods are also reported in Kismayo, Abdille Birole, Yontoy, Bula Gudud and Gobweyn; displacing more than 2,200 people and destroying or damaging 32 houses and 269 latrines. Rivers Dawa and Juba levels have continued to rise and the Juba river level at Doolow has reached 0.34 m above high-risk flooding level.
In Banadir region, eight people including six children were killed by torrential rains in Mogadishu on 11 May. The WASH Cluster estimates that the floods displaced 9,200 IDPs mostly from Daynile, Kahda, Wadajir and Dharkenley districts; washed away 460 communal latrines and destroyed houses. Major roads in the city remained impassable from 11-12 May. WHO1 has warned that the flooding could exacerbate Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) and cholera cases. It comes as Somalia is working with humanitarian partners to urgently contain the growing threats of COVID-19 and desert locusts.
As of 16 May, 1,357 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed with 55 deaths. At the same time, new swarms of desert locusts are reported in Somaliland, Puntland and Galmudug states. Despite this ‘Triple Threat’, funding for humanitarian operations in Somalia remains very low. As of 16 May, the revised 2020 Somalia Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) was only 16.8 per cent funded.
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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