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Home is best for Beletweyne flood victims – despite no toilets, no clean water

Monday December 2, 2019


Families displaced by flooding in Beledweyne, on the river Shabelle, have been returning to their property in Bunda-weyne, Hawo, and Koshin neighbourhoods, despite lacking clean water, latrines, and electricity.

Amaal Mohamed, a mother of six daughters and two sons, returned from El-jalle on the outskirts of town, where thousands had sought refuge on higher ground.

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Her home in Tinbo has not been repaired at all and is still standing in water. But she told Radio Ergo that conditions in El-jalle were unbearable for the children.

“After experiencing cold nights and the extremely hot days with nothing to eat, we opted to return. The children were suffering, so that is why I returned to my house. We have no toilet here, and we have to go outside to relieve ourselves,” said Amaal, who returned on 25 November.

She and her family spent $40 on transport from El-jalle. She said she has not received any aid at all from any source.

Siyad Ali Garane, a father of eight sons and three daughters, came back to Koshin despite the fact that their house has only three walls standing. One wall and the toilet collapsed when the floods hit.

“There is not as much water as there was during the floods but the whole plot is muddy. We sleep in the mud and we have not received any support. We are home but our main problem is getting the toilets repaired,” he said.

He called on well-wishers to help them rebuild the toilets.

Siyad, who used to get jobs as a casual labourer, said he has no work currently because of the floods.

“I used to support my family before the floods, but we do nothing as the town is empty now,” he said. “Anyhow, we now have a place to sleep and it is better we stay at my house than suffering in a place where we have nowhere to sleep,.”

Aisha Abdullahi Mumin also returned to Koshin with her five daughters and one son from a makeshift displacement camp. She told Radio Ergo that her family faced a lack of clean water and no toilets.

“The lives of my children and family depend on what the father of the family gets from doing daily casual jobs,” said Aisha, who is blind. “Even if I get something for the children, I cannot light the fire for cooking because I cannot see.”

The local authorities in Hiran are starting clean-up efforts in flood-affected areas of the town. They have constructed 91 toilets so far for poor families with the aid agencies CESVI and Qatar Foundation. Hiran deputy governor, Hussein Osman Ali, sought to allay fears of possible further flooding in Beletweyne, due to ongoing heavy rain in the Ethiopian highlands.

“As an administration, we have no fear that floods could wash over the town, that is why we have the courage to start the construction of toilets for the people,” he said.

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