Thousands of residents fled their homes in the central Somali town of Beledweyne on Friday as the Shabelle river burst its banks, leaving the town under waters, officials said Saturday.
With no rescue teams to deal with the emergency humanitarian disasters, residents used woody boats to evacuate their fellow residents trapped in the flooded neighborhoods while families moved to the higher grounds to escape floodwaters.
Ahmed Mohamed, a 60-years-old resident said that the town had last seen similar ‘horrendous’ floods in 1980, with the rising floodwaters ‘completely’ cut off the town.
“A better urban planning could have saved the town from such grim realities.” He told HOL.
Floodwaters have reportedly destroyed large farmlands in the region and swept away drinking water wells despite concerns of mosquitos breed in the stagnant waters that could exacerbate the spread of diseases such as malaria.
Meanwhile, some of the residents who remained in the town used sandbags to redirect water flows away from their homes, with many others faced the grim prospect of having to abandon their homes as floodwaters surged around their homes.
The development comes after sporadic rainfall started in the region as heavy downpours were predicted throughout the agricultural region,
Flooding by Shabelle river which passes through Somalia has been a regular occurrence in Hiran region, leading to loss of human lives, destruction of crops and loss of hundreds livestock. Water borne diseases also killed dozens during the seasonal flooding.
The impoverished horn of Africa nation lacks capacity to deal with natural disasters after more than two decades of civil war that shattered the country’s entire infrastructures.
The country often relies on aid agencies to cope with the natural disasters; with UN officials often accuse local officials of corruption that may hamper efforts to reach the victims in the areas hard-bit by disasters.