CHILDREN AT RISK AS FLOODS CONTINUE TO DEVASTATE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IN HIRAAN

Tuesday 29 October 2019

CHILDREN AT RISK AS FLOODS CONTINUE TO DEVASTATE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IN HIRAAN

By Saddam Hussein Carab 

“I really fear for my children.  One of them has a fever and has been vomiting since we came to this camp,” says Hani Abdirahman. “I got some medicines from a community health volunteer, but my child is not getting better. I pray the situation does not get worse.”

Hani, a mother of five, ( four boys and one girl ), aged between six years and six months-old, is one of the newly displaced people in Beledweyne town, Hiraan Region, Central parts of Somalia due to the flooding of River Shebelle that has affected more than 40,000 households. Hani and her family were evacuated just before the river banks broke and flooding water reached their home.   Now, they live in a make shift hut, with very little to go by.  More importantly the family do not have enough food or access to the basic amenities apart from the small donations they received from the families and relatives.   “I cook for the children once a day.”  Hani Said. We have no source of income. My husband is unemployed. We don’t know what else to do.” This despair sums up the feelings of most of the people displaced due to the ongoing floods.

As of October 29, 2019, most of Beledweyne town is flooded and can only be accessible by boats. At least 13 people have been confirmed dead and a number still missing.  Life-saving interventions are urgently needed including clean water, shelter, food, health and hygiene services.  The humanitarian agencies also continue to monitor disease outbreaks which could potentially worsen an already serious situation. Save the Children is working with the Government  of Somalia and other partners to support affected communities and is urging the international community to release resources to support displaced children and families.

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.