More than 273,000 people have been displaced due to severe flooding across Somalia in October, according to figures by UN agency on Friday.
The vast majority of those displaced people by flooding are in the Baladweeyne area due to the flooding of the Shabelle river. This brings the total number of people displaced by a combination of drought, floods and conflict so far this year in Somalia to 575,000, according to figures by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Norwegian Refugee Council-led Protection Returns and Monitoring Network.
NRC said several thousand people in the worst-affected area of Baladweyne are sheltering under trees or in emergency tents after their makeshift homes were washed away by floods caused by torrential rain.
“Floods have destroyed more than three-quarters of Baladweyne and submerged many surrounding villages. These are extremely poor parts of Somalia, where there is now no electricity and no safe drinking water. Livestock has been lost and agricultural production has been decimated,” Victor Moses, country director for NRC in Somalia said in a statement.
“Our team is extremely worried about at least 30,000 vulnerable families displaced by flash flooding in Bardaale, further south. These communities will need immediate response to survive and long-term support to recover,” Moses added.
The Somali government and aid agencies have called on assistance to help Somalis affected by the raging floods.
The aid agency said food reserves have been destroyed, food markets are under threat and displaced people are at a high risk of hunger and illness.
“Water-borne diseases such as cholera could erupt and spread quickly. Stagnant waters are a breeding ground for mosquitoes and could result in a malaria outbreak,” Moses said.
According to NRC staff on the ground, the displaced people, particularly children, mothers and the elderly, are in desperate need of food, water, emergency shelter, health, and sanitation, latrines and mosquito nets.
Heavy rain is forecast across parts of Somalia while more flooding along the Shabelle and Juba rivers is expected over the coming weeks.
This comes as Puntland, Somaliland and central regions are bracing themselves for a tropical storm, which is set to make landfall within the weekend.