11/17/2019
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UN agencies scale up efforts to help Somalis affected by flooding


Thursday November 7, 2019


Somalis displaced by the recent flooding in Beledweyne are desperately in need of help. (Xinhua/Hassan Bashi)

UN agencies are scaling up disaster relief efforts to help Somalis being affected by severe flooding in many regions across the country. The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says floods have killed at least 17 people and displaced hundreds of thousands, destroying farmland and infrastructure in the Horn of Africa nation.

MOGADISHU, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- UN agencies are scaling up disaster relief efforts to help Somalis who are being affected by severe flooding in many regions across the country.

Floods have killed at least 17 people and displaced more than 370,000 in Somalia, destroying farmland and infrastructure in the Horn of Africa nation, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Wednesday.

The World Food Programme, the food-assistance branch of the United Nations, and other partners facilitated by OCHA have scaled up humanitarian response, providing food to address the short-term nutrition needs of flood-affected families, as well as potable water, sanitation, shelter and health assistance.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) warned on Wednesday that flooding in Somalia increases risk of malnutrition and disease outbreaks. It said that food insecurity, lack of healthcare and access to safe water and sanitation will result in spikes in malnutrition among Somali children and cause a deadly cycle of fast-spreading waterborne diseases.

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UNICEF said 33,000 hygiene kits are being distributed to enhance access to safe water and prevent waterborne diseases. The supplies will be preemptively dispatched to treat 90,000 people for acute watery diarrhea, noting that nutrition teams are already on the ground to treat children with severe acute malnutrition

According to the UN, the floods have affected more than 540,000 people, of whom 370,000 have been displaced. Many of the displaced are in dire need of clean water, sanitation and hygiene services, safe shelter, health and food supplies.

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) also said Tuesday it has mobilized 2.58 million U.S. dollars with its partners to ramp up humanitarian supplies to thousands of Somalis cut off by flooding.

The UNHCR said an airplane, a Fokker 50 cargo freighter, carrying six metric tons of aid items landed on Monday in Beletweyne in Somalia's Hiirshabelle state to assist people displaced by the country's worst flooding in years.


Flood victims are seen at their camp on the outskirts of Beledweyne, central Somalia, Nov. 4, 2019. The UN agencies and other partners said Monday they have scaled up humanitarian response, providing food to address the short-term nutrition needs of flood-affected families across Somalia. (Xinhua/Hassan Bashi)

"We are scheduling up to 10 flights - three a day - to airlift a total of 60 metric tons of urgently needed humanitarian relief kits, including jerry cans, soap, blankets, kitchen sets and plastic sheets," the UN refugee agency said in a statement.

It said Monday's delivery was the first in a series of flights UNHCR is organizing to bring in humanitarian supplies to more than 20,000 people who have been cut off by the floodwaters and can only be reached by air.

The UNHCR said further funding is still required to meet immediate humanitarian emergency needs.

UNHCR said it will also deliver some 2,000 emergency shelter kits to the area. Additionally, 500 further emergency kits will be airlifted to South West State, where there has also been serious flooding.



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