A team comprising African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops and Somali national security forces has evacuated more than 10,000 people marooned by the raging floods in Belet Weyne, HirShabelle state.
The rescue mission was led by the Col Abdourahman Rayale Hareed, the Commander of Djibouti’s Hiil 5 Battalion, who appealed for food and medical supplies to help the flood victims.
“We are taking part in the evacuation of Somali people so as to rescue them from flooded areas and take them to a place near Eel Jaale far from floods,” said Col Hareed.
“As you can see there is need for transport, we have used vehicles that we could get to evacuate these people. They need urgent assistance with items such as food and water,” Col. Hareed, who was accompanied by Somali national security forces, added.
According to the Federal Government of Somalia, more than 175,000 have been displaced and over 400,000 affected by the floods in different parts of the country, following heavy rains which have been pounding parts of the country since May.
Residents of Belet Weyne are among the worst hit, after river Shabelle, which originates in Ethiopian Highlands, burst its banks leaving many homeless and without a source of livelihood. The evacuated residents were moved to higher ground.
The Commander of Belet Weyne Police Station, Mohamed Maow Halane, thanked the joint AMISOM and Somali forces rescue team for evacuating the affected residents.
“Forces from the military, police and AMISOM, especially Djiboutian troops have given us valuable assistance; as you can see from the transport support, said Mr. Halane.
“The military and police vehicles together have helped rescue people from the flooded villages. Only the AMISOM trucks could access the villages yesterday and the day before,” he added.
In its report released last week, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) in Somalia warned that the heavy rains were worsening conditions in overcrowded Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) settlements and displacing more people along riverine areas due to flooding. The settlements have limited access to hygiene facilities, thus heightening the risk of communicable diseases.
According to the OCHA report, 246,000 people are at risk of flash floods in Baidoa, Southwest state, while in Jubbaland approximately 28,200 people have been displaced by floods, which swept away home, shelters, farms and livestock. In Belet Weyne, more than 200, 000 people are at risk of being affected by floods after River Shabelle burst its banks, forcing many to flee the town to higher grounds.