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UN, partners launch Somalia flood response plan

Tuesday May 16, 2023

Local people wade through floodwater after bursting of a river in Beledweyne, central Somalia, May 17, 2020. (Xinhua/Hassan Bashi)

UNITED NATIONS (Xinhua) -- Following devastating rains in Somalia, UN humanitarians said on Monday they are launching a national flood preparedness and response plan with the authorities.

"According to early estimates by our partners, more than 460,000 people have been affected, including nearly 219,000 people who have been displaced," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said. "Homes and farmland have been inundated, livestock have been washed away and school and health facilities have temporarily shuttered."

The humanitarian office said it would launch a rapid needs assessment on Tuesday, together with its partners.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) sent early-warning text messages to 5,000 farmers across Hirshabelle State, where the Shabelle River overflowed its banks, forcing thousands of people to move to higher ground, OCHA said.

The office said the FAO and partners provided sandbags, shovels, and other supplies to help clear drains and mitigate flooding in Hirshabelle. The WFP is sending 17 tons of high-energy biscuits and has provided boats to reach people in flooded areas.

"Should heavy rains continue in Somalia and in the Ethiopian highlands, our partners estimate that up to 1.6 million people could be impacted, with more than 600,000 people displaced," OCHA said. "The rains also increase the risk of outbreaks of waterborne diseases."

The office said the destruction means more funds are needed since the humanitarian response plan for Somalia, which requests 2.6 billion U.S. dollars, is only 25 percent funded.


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