Saturday April 28, 2018
MOGADISHU (HOL) – President Farmajo is expected to travel to Burundi on Saturday ahead of the CECAFA U-17 finals on Sunday while close to half a million people in the country are affected by severe flooding.
Sources inside Villa Somalia told HOL that the President will be in attendance when Somalia faces off against Tanzania in the championship match on Sunday.
Although the entire nation is rooting for Somalia’s boys to bring home the cup, many MPs, including former Minister of Education, Abdinur Sh. Mohamed, have voiced concerns about the timing of the trip. They believe that the President should be working on mobilizing the emergency response effort for flood victims in central and south Somalia.
According to aid agencies, close to 420,000 residents have been affected by flooding in recent days. In Beledweyne alone, over 100,000 people have been displaced, and a large portion of the city is still submerged in water.
One resident told HOL that the President should show solidarity with the flood victims and travel to see the devastation first hand.
“We are suffering in Beledweyne. The President of Somalia come and see how people are living,” said 29-year-old Farhan Abdi.
Major flooding submerges downtown Beledweyne
He added that having the President there would shore up support for the relief effort.
“If people see the President in Beledweyne, they will know that this is a serious issue and people will get into action.”
President Farmajo, in the past, has been very vocal and proactive on mobilizing relief and aid for Somalis. When Somalia was on the brink of famine in early 2017, Farmajo worked tirelessly to coordinate with aid agencies, local NGO’s, the Somali diaspora and charity groups.
He has also been known to lend emotional support to victims of terrorism – making courtesy visits to the hospital to personally speak with the victims.
Many residents in Beledweyne and the surrounding riverine villages are wondering where is the same compassion and empathy for them.
Fatima Ahmed, a lifelong resident of Beledweyne said the President’s responsibility is to the whole nation.
“He is our President too. He has shown leadership in other parts of Somalia, but it seems that he is not that concerned about us.”
Faramajo has yet to visit Beledweyne as the President of Somalia.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre formed a 22-person committee to coordinate the emergency response for the flood victims. This committee, including the Prime Minister are expected to travel to the affected regions of Beledweyne in coming days.
On Friday, Hirshabelle regional president Mohamed Ware made an emotional plea to Somali diaspora and the international community for help while knee-deep in water.
“We appeal to the International Community- donors, NGO’s and others of goodwill to assist us in addressing this developing humanitarian crisis and to prevent it from getting worse. This crisis is certainly beyond our means to address alone.”