About 200,000 people have been displaced by sudden floods in central Somalia, a regional official told AFP on Saturday, as the Shabelle River overflowed its banks and submerged roads.
Residents of Baldwin town in Hiran district were forced to leave their homes as heavy rains caused the water level to rise sharply, with residents carrying their belongings over their heads as they waded through the flooded streets seeking shelter.
Ali Osman Hussain, deputy governor of social affairs in Hiran region, said, “Now, about 200,000 people have been displaced due to the floods of the Shabelle River in the town of Baledwin, and the number may rise at any time. It is a preliminary number now.”
“We are doing everything we can to help those affected,” he told AFP.
“Three people were killed as a result of the floods,” the district’s deputy governor, Hassan Ibrahim Abdullah, said on Friday.
The disaster comes on the heels of a record drought that has brought millions of Somalis to the brink of starvation, while the troubled country has also been battling an Islamist insurgency for decades.
Residents told AFP they were forced to leave their homes in the middle of the night earlier this week as water poured onto streets and buildings.
Fartun Ali – not her real name – said it was the fifth time she had fled flash floods in Baldwin.
“When the river breaks its banks, we run,” the 35-year-old mother of eight told AFP.
Iman Badal Omar, another resident, said he was relieved that she escaped with his life.
“All we could do was evacuate and rescue our children. We didn’t take any of our belongings,” he told AFP.
East and Central Africa often experiences bad weather during the rainy seasons.
Earlier this month, 135 people were killed and more than 9,000 displaced after heavy rains lashed Rwanda, causing floods and landslides in several parts of the mountainous country.
More than 400 people lost their lives due to torrential rains, floods and landslides last week in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Experts say extreme weather events are occurring with increasing frequency and intensity due to climate change – and Africa, which contributes the least to global warming, bears the brunt.
In May 2020, at least 65 people died in Rwanda due to heavy rains hitting the region, while at least 194 deaths were reported in Kenya.
At the end of 2019, at least 265 people were killed and tens of thousands displaced during two months of torrential rains in several countries in East Africa.
Heavy rains affected nearly two million people and washed away tens of thousands of livestock in Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
© 2023 AFP
the quote: Floods in Somalia Displace 200,000 People: Official (2023, May 14) Retrieved May 14, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-05-somalia-displaces-people.html
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