Monday, 5 June, 2023

Flooding in Somalia displaces 200,000 people: official

Around 200,000 people have been displaced due to flash flooding in central Somalia, a regional official told AFP on Saturday, as the Shabelle River burst its banks and submerged roads.

Inhabitants of Beledweyne town in Hiran region were forced out of their homes as heavy rainfall caused water levels to rise sharply, with residents carrying their belongings on top of their heads as they waded through flooded streets in search of refuge.

"Some 200,000 people are now displaced due to the Shabelle River flash floods in Beledweyne town and the number may increase anytime. It is a preliminary figure now," said Ali Osman Hussein, deputy governor for social affairs in Hiran region.

"We are doing all we can to help those who are affected," he told AFP.

The region's deputy governor Hassan Ibrahim Abdulle said on Friday that "three people were killed by the floods".

The disaster comes on the heels of a record drought that has left millions of Somalis on the brink of famine, with the troubled nation also battling an Islamist insurgency for decades.

Residents told AFP they were forced to abandon their homes in the middle of the night earlier this week as water gushed through the streets and into buildings.